Journal Issue: The Juvenile Court Volume 6 Number 3 Winter 1996
Characteristics of the Youths Referred to Juvenile Court
Between 1989 and 1993, 81% of the juveniles referred to court for a delinquency offense were male. Even though males are referred to juvenile courts at greater rates (cases per 1,000 juveniles in the population) in all delinquency offense categories, males and females are referred to juvenile courts for similar types of offenses (see Table 3). Over the five-year period from 1989 through 1993, 57% of both male and female delinquency referrals involved a property offense, and 18% of both caseloads were public order offenses.
From 1989 to 1993, 40% of delinquency referrals concerned a youth below the age of 15, 21% were age 15, 22% were age 16, and 17% were 17 years of age or older.9 Older juveniles were referred more often for drug and public order offenses and less often for property and person offenses than were younger juveniles.
During the same time period, 66% of all youths referred to juvenile courts for a delinquent offense were white, 31% were black, and about 4% were Native American or Asian/Pacific Islander.10 National juvenile court statistics do not independently classify juveniles as to their Hispanic ethnicity. In the United States, nearly all Hispanics are in the white racial group. Black juveniles were referred to court at greater rates than other groups of juveniles in all delinquency offense categories. In addition, the offense profile of black juveniles differed from those of white and other race juveniles. A greater proportion of black juveniles were referred for a person or drug offense, while, correspondingly, the black juveniles had a smaller proportion of property offense cases.