This report presents data on the proportion of juvenile cases that received probation from 1985 through 2009, and demographic data on juvenile probationers in 2009 are presented, along with the types of offenses for which probation was the sentence.
One-third of all delinquency cases disposed in 2009 received probation as the most serious disposition. The number of cases receiving probation increased 29 percent between 1985 and 2009. During this period, the overall delinquency caseload increased 30 percent. Sixty-eight percent of the juvenile cases placed on probation in 2009 involved white juveniles, 29 percent Black juveniles, and 3 percent were juveniles of other races. Seventy-three percent of the probation cases in 2009 involved males. The percentage of females receiving probation increased from 18 percent in 1985 to 27 percent in 2009. Juveniles ages 14-18 accounted for 65 percent of the probation caseload in 2009. From 1985 through 2009, property offenses continued to account for the majority of cases placed on probation, but its share of the probation cases declined. The formal probation caseload contained greater proportions of person, drug, and public-order offenses cases in 2009 than in 1985. Some youth are ordered to probation after being adjudicate delinquent (analogous to being convicted in criminal court). In contrast to court-ordered probation, some youth who are not adjudicated delinquent voluntarily agree to abide by certain probation conditions, often with the understanding that if they successfully complete their probation, their cases will be terminated without any formal processing. 4 tables and 3 figures