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Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Court, 2015

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2018
4 pages
Publication Series

This fact sheet presents data on delinquency cases processed in U.S. juvenile courts in 2015, including the trend in number of cases processed from 1960 through 2015; the race, gender, and age of juveniles processed; the use of detention; intake decisions; waiver to criminal court; and adjudication and disposition.


In 2015, 884,900 cases that involved criminal-law violations were processed in U.S. juvenile courts, a 47-percent decline from 2005. Declines occurred in all four offense categories (property offenses, public order offenses, person offenses, and drug law violations). A total of 244,000 cases involved females, with males involved in 640,900 cases. By race, 43 percent involved white youth, 35 percent Black youth, 18 percent Hispanic youth, 2 percent American-Indian youth, and 1 percent Asian youth. Seventy-six percent of the juveniles processed in 2015 were not placed in detention. In 2015, 18 percent of all delinquency cases were dismissed at intake, generally for lack of legal sufficiency. An additional 27 percent were resolved informally. Most states allow juvenile court judges to waive juvenile court jurisdiction in certain cases and transfer them to criminal court for processing as adults. In 2015, this happened in 1 percent of all cases formally processed by juvenile courts. Regarding adjudication and disposition, juveniles were adjudicated delinquent in 53 percent (261,000) of petitioned cases. Many cases resulted in multifaceted dispositions, and most involved some type of supervision. Formal probation was the most severe disposition in 63 percent of cases in which delinquency was found. 5 tables and 2 figures

Date Published: December 1, 2018