This report draws on data from the National Juvenile Court Data Archive in describing the delinquency cases addressed in 2003 and 2004 by courts with juvenile jurisdiction, and it reviews trends in delinquency cases since 1985 and the formally processed status-offense cases between 1995 and 2004.
The introductory chapter addresses the unit of count, coverage, juvenile court processing, data quality, validity of the estimates, data access, changes introduced in this report, and other sources of juvenile court data. Chapters 2 and 3 present national estimates of delinquency cases handled by the juvenile court in 2004 and analyzed caseload trends since 1985. Chapter 2 describes the volume and rate of delinquency cases, sources of referral, demographic characteristics of the juveniles involved (age, gender, and race), and offenses charged. Chapter 3 traces the flow of delinquency cases through the courts. It examines each decision point (detention, intake decision, judicial decision, and judicial disposition) and presents data by demographic characteristics and offense. Chapter 4 presents national estimates of status-offense cases formally handled by the juvenile courts in 2004 and caseload trends since 1995. It includes data on demographic characteristics, offenses charged, and case processing. One appendix describes the statistical procedure used to generate the estimates, and another appendix provides definitions for key terms used throughout the report. A third appendix presents a detailed table that shows the number of delinquency, status-offense, and dependency cases handled by juvenile courts in 2003 and 2004 by State and county.