US Juvenile Crime Statistics and Risk Factors | maryville online (2023)

Young people who commit a crime in the US risk entering the largest prison system in the world.Nearly 1.5 million people have been incarcerated in the United the end of 2018, according to data released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in 2020. Between 1978 and 2018, the US prison population increased by more than 375%.

More recently, the US prison population has declined slightly. There have been small declines every year since 2010, including a 1.6% drop from 2017 to 2018, according to the BJS. However, the United States still hasthe largest prison population in the world🇧🇷 Furthermorearrest more young peoplethan any other country.

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US Juvenile Crime Statistics and Risk Factors | maryville online (1)

The impact of criminal policy

Multiple factors contribute to changes in incarceration rates, including crime rates, but there are clear links between large changes in the prison population and specific laws and policies. For example, the federal prison population skyrocketed in the 1980s during the war on drugs, when mandatory minimum sentences increased; they dropped significantly after the US Sentencing Commission.cut sentence lengthfor all drug trafficking offenses by 25% in 2014.

Laws and policies have had a similar impact on the juvenile justice system. ONumber of youths in confinement in the USdeclined by 60% between 2000 and 2017, largely due to reforms to state and federal law, according to a 2019 report by the Prison Policy Initiative.

A closer look at youth crime statistics in the United States illustrates the link between adult and youth justice systems and the importance of crime policy to America's youth.

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Juvenile Crime Statistics in the US

Juvenile delinquency is the illegal behavior of a minor. (Legal majority varies from state to state; minors are under 17 or 18.) Juvenile offenses include offenses against public order; drug law violations; property crimes such as burglary and theft; and personal crimes, including assault, robbery, rape, and murder.

AccordingJuvenile court statistics reportAccording to the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), the categories of crimes most commonly handled by juvenile courts include:

  • single assault, which accounted for 20% of cases in 2018, includes the unlawful intentional infliction (or threat or attempted infliction) of non-serious bodily harm without a deadly or dangerous weapon.
  • Drug law violations, which accounted for 14% of cases in 2018, include the illegal purchase, sale, distribution, cultivation, manufacture, possession, transport or use of a controlled or prohibited substance, drug or drug paraphernalia, as well as an attempt to commit such acts.
  • Theft, which accounted for 13% of cases in 2018, includes the unlawful usurpation of property (except motor vehicles) or the attempted stealth of someone else's property, but without force or intent, with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of the property. property.
  • obstruction of justice, which represented 12% of cases in 2018, includes willful obstruction of judicial or police efforts in the administration of justice, calculated effort to diminish the authority or dignity of the court, failure to comply with a lawful court order, escape from prison, or violation of probation or parole conditional.
  • disorderly conduct, which accounted for 6% of cases in 2018, includes the unlawful disruption of order, peace, or tranquility in a community, including crimes such as disorderly conduct, vagrancy, vagrancy, riot, and illegal assembly.

Other prominent juvenile crimes include theft, vandalism, aggravated assault, trespassing, burglary, and weapons offenses.

Juvenile crime statistics by state

West Virginia, Wyoming, Oregon, Alaska and South Dakota havehighest juvenile custody rates, according to the Draft Judgment. The rate is defined as the number of youths in the juvenile justice system per 100,000 youths in the state. Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont, New Hampshire and North Carolina have the lowest rates.

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Statewide juvenile detention rates(also defined by number per 100,000) vary significantly by type of infraction. For example, Nevada, Delaware and Louisiana have the highest number of arrests for aggravated assault, while Wyoming, South Dakota and Utah have the highest rates of drug abuse, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). .

However, comparing juvenile detention and custody rates at the state level can be misleading, as the laws governing juvenile crime and detention vary greatly from state to state. Some states are actively working to reduce youth incarceration.California Juvenile Justice Reform Legislation, for example, banned the incarceration of juveniles for truancy and prohibited children under 16 from being placed in the adult detention system.

juvenile detention centers

In the United States, juveniles interned as a result of their involvement in criminal or juvenile justice may be interned in a variety of facilities. Correctional facilities for juveniles include detention centers, long-term secure facilities, and short-term reception centers. A considerable number of minors are confined in adult prisons and jails.

Juvenile justice professionals generally agree that the confinement of juveniles is generally not in the interest of the juvenile offender or the public. Juvenile detention centers are intended to provide secure temporary custody, but juvenile correction centers are large, closed facilities that often resemble adult prisons. Two-thirds of juveniles in juvenile halls are detained for more than a month, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.

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Incarcerated youth are at risk of physical and psychological abuse, sexual assault and suicide. Educational services are limited. Adverse effects associated with detention include worse life outcomes, including less success in obtaining an education, personal and family relationships, and gainful employment.

Top 10 Juvenile Delinquency Statistics

  1. Between 2009 and 2018, the number of cases handled by juvenile courts in the US decreased by 48% (NCJJ report).
  2. Over the same period, cases declined in all crime categories except criminal homicide and non-violent sexual crimes; both increased 3% (NCJJ report).
  3. Despite positive trends in child arrests, 1,995 children are arrested in the US every day (Children's Defense Fund).
  4. More than 728,000 children were arrested in the US in 2018 (OJJDP).
  5. White youth account for more than 60% of juvenile arrests (OJJDP).
  6. Young men account for 70% of juvenile arrests (OJJDP).
  7. More than 48,000 young people in the US are confined in institutions away from home due to the involvement of justice (Prison Policy Initiative).
  8. Approximately 1 in 5 juveniles detained in juvenile centers are awaiting trial and have not been convicted or criminal (Prison Policy Initiative).
  9. There are over 1,500 youth facilities in the US (OJJDP).
  10. Corporations and private organizations run 40% of the US juvenile correction facilities (OJJDP).

Resources: Information and statistics on juvenile delinquency

Juvenile delinquency risk factors and prevention strategies

Risk factors associated with an increased likelihood of juvenile delinquency can be organized into four categories:

  1. Individual🇧🇷 Examples of individual risk factors include substance abuse, antisocial behavior, cognitive impairments, hyperactivity, and physical problems.
  2. Family🇧🇷 Familial risk factors include low socioeconomic status, poor parent-child relationships, broken homes, and abusive or neglectful parents. Children who have been exposed to repeated family violence or discord at home are more likely to be involved in juvenile delinquency. Teenage parenthood is also associated with higher levels of contact with the juvenile justice system.
  3. Par🇧🇷 Peer risk factors include weak social ties, antisocial or delinquent peers, and gang membership. Young people who are bullied or excluded by their peers are more likely to engage in criminal behavior.
  4. school and community🇧🇷 Risk factors associated with these groups include poor academic performance and neighborhood disorganization. Economically impoverished communities and high-crime neighborhoods are more likely to produce juvenile delinquents.

prevention strategies

Experts in preventive strategies for dealing with juvenile delinquency advocate evidence-based practices that have been evaluated and proven to be effective in reducing or preventing crime. An example of these practices are early detection programs, which attempt to intervene before criminal behavior occurs. Examples include preschool programs and home visiting programs that involve social workers and other health professionals.

A diverse group of organizations, including government agencies and advocacy groups, have developed programs aimed at reducing juvenile delinquency. These programs focus on various topics related to juvenile delinquency:

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  • Diversion programs (community-based treatment and support)
  • Education system reforms
  • New laws and sentencing guidelines to keep youth out of the adult system
  • Policies to reduce detention of minors
  • Programs to help youth with substance abuse and behavioral disorders

Resources: Juvenile delinquency risk factors and prevention strategies

advocating for change

Addressing juvenile delinquency and its underlying causes requires efforts from professionals involved in social work, social justice and criminology. The skills and knowledge needed to be successful advocates for change differ by job, but experts in these areas share an understanding of the criminal justice system and strategies for reducing risk factors associated with juvenile delinquency.

More importantly, they share a desire to improve outcomes and reduce recidivism among juvenile offenders. Family members, friends and other interested members of society can also play a role in promoting changes in the juvenile justice system.

Resources: Youth Support and Advocate


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