The number of drug-related arrests reported by U.S. law enforcement agencies increased sharply between 1980 and 1995, and for some groups the volume of arrests did not decline significantly between 1995 and 2010. The largest relative growth in drug arrests occurred among adult women, especially those charged with drug possession offenses rather than sales or manufacture. Drug arrests involving male offenders still outnumbered those involving females in 2010, but arrests of women increased more since 1980.
Juvenile court cases involving charges of obstruction of justice, simple assault, drug law violations, vandalism, and disorderly conduct combined accounted for 48,200 new placement cases in 2008, or more than 90 percent of all growth in out-of-home placements between 1985 and 2008.
Youth in the juvenile justice system are at higher risk for mental health disorders and substance abuse problems, but these differences in risk are often misunderstood.
The declines in the rate of murder arrests involving juveniles and young adults completely reversed the increases seen prior to 1994, bringing murder arrest rates down to levels below those of 1980. In general, the changing arrest rates for older juveniles mirrored those of young adults during the 1990s and early 2000s. Robbery was the exception.
The 1995-2010 drop in violent crime ranged from –50% to –74% in these states, but the size of the decline was not related to the use of transfer. Florida transfers more youth than any other state, but its violent crime drop (–57%) was in the middle of the range. In states that use transfer much less often, total violent crime fell almost as much (California and Washington) or far more (Ohio) than it did in Florida.
Between 1991 and 2006, arrests for drug sales and manufacturing actually dropped 6 percent while arrests for possession climbed 139 percent. The same pattern was observed for arrests involving offenders of different ages, but the growth in drug possession arrests was sharpest among juveniles.
Taken together, arrests for the eight serious offenses included in the FBI Crime Index decreased nearly 50 percent between 1995 and 2010. Arrests for some of the most common, less serious offenses, however, increased substantially from 1985 through 2005, and they remained at higher levels in 2010 when compared with the early 1980s.
The Evaluation of Teen Courts Project coducted a national survey of youth court (or teen court) programs to answer important questions about the range of program models and the characteristics of their clients.
Jeffrey A. Butts (1997). The National Juvenile Court Data Archive: Collecting Data Since 1927. (Fact Sheet #66.) Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US Department of Justice. Juvenile and family courts across the country voluntarily provide the National Juvenile Court Data Archive with information about their delinquency and status offense cases.
Compared to the length of criminal court trials, the juvenile court process may seem quite timely. But delays in the juvenile justice system should be viewed from the perspective of an adolescent offender.
This Fact Sheet presents national data on delinquency cases processed by juvenile courts from 1985 through 1994. National estimates were generated using information from the National Juvenile Court Data Archive. More than 1,800 jurisdictions containing 67% of the U.S. juvenile population contributed data for these national estimates.
Drug offenses accounted for 8% of all delinquency cases in 1994, compared with 5% in 1991. Drug offenses include possession or sale of marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs. The analysis in this Fact Sheet includes only cases in which a drug offense was the most serious charge, not cases involving juveniles charged with drug offenses in addition to more serious offenses.
Juvenile courts in the United States processed an estimated 1,555,200 delinquency cases in 1994. Delinquency cases involve juveniles charged with criminal law violations. The number of delinquency cases handled by juvenile courts increased 41% between 1985 and 1994. Since 1985, cases involving offenses against persons increased 93%, while property offense cases increased 22% and drug law violation cases increased 62%.
In 1994 U.S. juvenile courts handled an estimated 336,100 delinquency cases in which the most serious charge was an offense against a person. Person offenses include assault, robbery, rape, and homicide. The 1994 person offense caseload was 93% greater than in 1985. Person offense cases accounted for 22% of all delinquency cases in 1994, compared with 16% in 1985.
This OJJDP Update on Research examines the effects of restitution on the recidivism rates of juvenile offenders. Data were obtained from the National Juvenile Court Data Archive. The results suggest that the use of restitution is associated with significant reductions in recidivism among certain juvenile offenders.