This report presents national data on person offenses (assault, robbery, rape, and homicide) in juvenile courts for 1989-98, including data on offender characteristics and case processing.
In 1998 U.S. juvenile courts handled an estimated 403,800 delinquency cases in which the most serious charge was an offense against a person. The 1998 person-offense caseload was 88 percent greater than in 1989. Person-offense cases accounted for 23 percent of all delinquency cases in 1998, compared with 18 percent in 1989. The person-offense case rate increased 64 percent between 1989 and 1998. In contrast, the case rate for property offenses decreased 4 percent between 1989 and 1998. Homicide was the most serious charge in 2,000 cases handled in 1998, less than 0.5 percent of all person-offense cases handled by juvenile courts in 1998. Compared with 1989, juveniles involved in person-offense cases in 1998 were younger and more likely to be female. In 1998, 64 percent of person-offense cases involved juveniles younger than 16 years old, compared with 62 percent in 1989. Females were involved in 28 percent of person-offense cases in 1998, compared with 20 percent in 1989. Of the 403,800 person-offense cases disposed by U.S. juvenile courts in 1998, 59 percent were handled formally. Of these petitioned cases, slightly more than 1 percent were waived to the criminal justice system; more than half (61 percent) were formally adjudicated delinquent in the juvenile justice system, and 38 percent were petitioned but not adjudicated delinquent. In 27 percent of the 143,800 person-offense cases formally adjudicated by juvenile courts in 1998, the most severe disposition imposed by the court was placement out of the home in a residential facility. Probation was ordered in 58 percent of the cases, and 9 percent resulted in other sanctions. 2 tables and 1 figure
Date Published: August 1, 2001