Unbalanced Juvenile Justice

Glossary


Measurements

See more about measuring disparities

Raw numbers
The number of youth who are incarcerated in any given year. For example: 24,573 Black youth were incarcerated in the United States on a given day in 2011.

Rate per 100,000 youth
Calculated by dividing the total number of incarcerated youth by the total number of youth in the population, then multiplying by 100,000. For example: 514 per 100,000 Black youth were incarcerated in the United States on a given day in 2011.

Disparity gap
The rate at which youth of color contact the system as compared to the rate at which White youth contact the system. Each rate can be calculated using the total youth population as the base or the previous decision point as the base.


Offenses

Violent person
This is equivalent to the violent crime index category which includes criminal homicide, violent sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Other person
Person offenses not detailed above. Examples include: harassment, coercion, reckless endangerment, etc.

Property
Offenses such as burglary, theft, auto theft, arson, vandalism, trespassing, selling stolen property, possession of burglar's tools, fraud, etc.

Drug
Offenses involving drugs or narcotics such as trafficking, drug possession or use, possession of drug paraphernalia, visiting a place where drugs are found, etc.

Public order
Offenses such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, weapons, obstruction of justice (escape from confinement, perjury, contempt of court, etc.), non-violent sex offenses, cruelty to animals, disorderly conduct, traffic offenses, etc.

Technical violation
Violations of probation, parole, or valid court orders; acts that disobey or go against the conditions of probation or parole. Examples include: failure to participate in a specific program, failure to appear for drug tests or meetings, and failure to pay restitution.

Status
Non-delinquent offenses; an offense that is illegal for underage persons, but not for adults. For instance, curfew violations, being “incorrigible” (beyond the control of parents, guardians, or custodians), running away, not attending school, unruliness in school, underage drinking, underage smoking, etc.

All delinquency charges
If you select "all delinquency charges" in the customize box, offenses that are considered illegal for both adults and children will be included.

All offenses
If you select “all offenses” in the customize box, all delinquency charges plus status offenses will be included.


Placement Type

Detention
Youth placed in a secure facility pending adjudication hearing or transfer to adult court; youth adjudicated delinquent awaiting disposition; youth adjudicated delinquent awaiting transfer to another jurisdiction.

Commitment
Court-ordered placement of juvenile to a facility following adjudication.

All incarceration
Adds the detention and commitment categories, as well as youth who are sent to a facility in lieu of adjudication as part of a diversion agreement.


Annual decision points

Youth population
Youth population refers to the general population ages 10 through the upper age of juvenile court jurisdiction in each State. The upper age is often 17 but not always.

Arrest
Youth are arrested when law enforcement apprehend, stop, or otherwise contact them and suspect them of committing a crime.

Referral to Court
Youth is received by court or juvenile intake agency, either as a result of law enforcement action or upon a complaint by a citizen or school.

Diversion
The diversion population includes all youth referred for legal processing but handled without the filing of formal charges.

Petition Filed
Cases that appear on a court calendar in response to the filing of a petition, complaint, or other legal instrument requesting the court to adjudicate a youth as a delinquent or status offender or to waive jurisdiction and transfer a youth to criminal court.

Secure detention
Youth placed in a secure facility pending adjudication hearing or transfer to adult court; youth adjudicated delinquent awaiting disposition; youth adjudicated delinquent awaiting transfer to another jurisdiction. Detention should not include youth held in shelters, group homes, or other non-secure facilities.

Delinquency findings
Youth are judged or found to be delinquent during adjudicatory hearings in juvenile court. Being found (or adjudicated) delinquent is roughly equivalent to being convicted in criminal court.

Probation
Probation cases are those in which a youth is placed on formal or court-ordered supervision following a juvenile court disposition. Youth on probation under voluntary agreements without adjudication should be considered part of the diverted population.

Confinement in secure correctional facilities
Confined cases are those in which, following a court disposition, youth are placed in secure residential or correctional facilities for delinquent offenders.

Transferred to adult court
Waived cases are those in which a youth is transferred to adult criminal court as a result of a judicial finding in juvenile court. Juveniles may be transferred to criminal court through a variety of other methods, but most of these methods are difficult or impossible to track from within the juvenile justice system, including prosecutor discretion or concurrent jurisdiction, legislative exclusion, and the various blended sentencing laws.

The definitions found on this website are abbreviated versions of definitions provided in the DMC Technical Assistance Manual, 4th Edition, Chapter 1: Identification and Monitoring

About the data

Our website is populated by data provided to us by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Continue reading for details about the One-day count and Annual decision points data.

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