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Person Offenses in Juvenile Court, 1985-1994

NCJ Number
198528
Date Published
Author(s)
Jeffrey A. Butts, Ph.D.
Annotation
Data on person offenses nationwide in juvenile court for 1985-1994 address trends in the percentage of such cases, the characteristics of offenders, the use of detention, and case processing.
Abstract
Person offenses include assault, robbery, rape, and homicide. The 1994 person offense caseload was 93 percent greater than in 1985. Person offense cases accounted for 22 percent of all delinquency cases in 1994, compared with 16 percent in 1985. Homicide was the most serious charge in 3,000 cases, or less than 1 percent of all person offense cases handled by juvenile courts in 1994. The majority of person offense cases involved charges of simple assault (177,700) or aggravated assault (85,300). Together, these two offenses accounted for 78 percent of all person offense cases processed in 1994. Compared with 1985, juveniles involved in person offense cases in 1994 were slightly younger and more likely to be female. In 1994, 64 percent of person offense cases involved juveniles under age 16, compared with 61 percent in 1985. Females were involved in 23 percent of person offense cases in 1994, compared with 20 percent in 1985. More than half (57 percent) of person offense cases in 1994 involved white youth, 40 percent involved Black youth, and 3 percent involved youth of other races. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of the person offense cases disposed by juvenile courts in 1994 involved the use of detention at some point between referral and disposition. Of the four major offense categories (person, property, drug, and public order), only drug offense cases were more likely than person offense cases to involve the use of predisposition detention (28 percent). Of the 336,100 person offense cases disposed by U.S. juvenile courts in 1994, 59 percent were processed formally (i.e., a petition was filed requesting a hearing). Of the juveniles in these cases, 3 percent were waived to the criminal court system; 54 percent were formally adjudicated in the juvenile court; and 43 percent were petitioned but not adjudicated. More than half (53 percent) of the 139,100 person offense cases handled informally by juvenile courts in 1994 were dismissed. The remainder resulted in voluntary probation (29 percent) or other dispositions (18 percent), and less than 1 percent resulted in out-of-home placement. 2 tables and 1 figure
Date Created: August 6, 2014