Juvenile courts in the United States processed an estimated
1,755,100 delinquency cases in 1997. Such cases involved juveniles
charged with violations of the law that would be crimes if
committed by adults. The number of delinquency cases handled by
juvenile courts increased 48 percent between 1988 and 1997.
Seventy-seven percent of delinquency cases in 1997 involved a
male, and 58 percent of the cases processed in 1997 involved a
juvenile under age 16 at the time of referral. Juveniles were
securely detained (during processing and prior to disposition) in
19 percent of the delinquency cases processed in 1997.
Approximately 19 percent of all cases in 1997 were dismissed at
intake, often because they were not legally sufficient. Another
24 percent were processed informally. Juvenile court judges
waived 8,400 delinquency cases to criminal court, 25 percent more
than in 1988 but 28 percent less than in 1994, the peak year.
Juveniles were adjudicated delinquent in more than half (58
percent) of the 996,000 cases brought before a judge. Once
adjudicated, juveniles were placed on formal probation in the
majority of cases (55 percent). Juveniles were placed in a
residential facility in 28 percent of the cases. 1 table