Jurisdictional boundaries [3]

States vary in how each sets the basic playing field for juvenile justice with lower and upper age boundaries. State legislatures further create a range of complex exceptions for transfer to criminal court based on case-by-case, age and offense specifics.

  • Delinquency age boundaries 2016

    • Upper age

      17 years old

    • Lower age

      None specified

    • Extended age

      20 years old

  • Transfer provisions 2015

    Transfer pathways
    • Discretionary waiver
    • Presumptive waiver
    • Mandatory waiver
    • Statutory exclusion
    • Once/always adult
    • Prosecutor discretion
    Mitigating provisions
    • Reverse waiver (remand)
    • Juvenile blended sentencing
    • Criminal blended sentencing
  • Transfer trends


Juvenile defense

Much is at stake in a juvenile court action for delinquency, and successful outcomes are influenced by a family's ability to retain effective counsel early-on and retain them until a permanent resolution to all aspects of the legal matter is resolved.

  • Organization structure 2013

    Organized at the local level (county/judicial district)

  • Waiver of counsel 2014

    Factors for consideration in juvenile justice statutes:

    • Age

    • Crime

    • Hearing

    • Placement

  • Indigency 2013

    Indigency is not determined legislatively

  • Training 2013

    No juvenile statute requirement for specialized juvenile training.

Racial/ethnic fairness [1][2]

Youth of color are overrepresented in many aspects of the juvenile justice system, from arrest to court referral and confinement. Thus a core requirement of federal juvenile justice policy requires each state to identify where disparities may exist.

  • Indicator data 2015

    Does not publish indicator data. Reports to federal juvenile justice agency only.

  • DMC coordinators 2016

    Part-time or other state-level staff

  • Tribal delinquency jurisdiction 2016

    Not applicable

  • Monitoring data

    • N/A: Insufficient data to compute arrest rates
    • * Rates used to compute ratio based on fewer than 10 observations
    • † White detained rate is 0

Juvenile court

Each state has established a court with juvenile jurisdiction to address the law violating conduct of youth. Explore the structural and procedural differences.

  • Purpose clauses 2016

    • No clause

    • Parens patriae

    • Due process era

    • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

    • Developmental Approach

  • Intake and diversion 2016

    Initial intake and diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the Court Intake Officer (JPO) and pre-petition diversion time limit/s exist.

  • Courtroom shackling 2015

    Courtroom shackling is restricted by the state court

  • Competency 2015

    • No juvenile standard

    • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

    • Juvenile justice standard exists

    • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

  • Sex offense registry 2015

    Does not register

Juvenile justice services [4][5]

Every state has a set of laws establishing a system of juvenile courts and a corresponding intervention system commonly referred to as juvenile justice services. The different frameworks effectively create 51 distinctly different juvenile justice systems.

  • Organization structure 2014

    • Overall

      Locally operated

    • Detention

      Locally operated

    • Probation

      Locally operated

    • Reentry

      Locally operated

  • Corrections agency 2015

    • Independent juvenile corrections agency

    • Family/child welfare agency or division

    • Broad human services agency

    • Adult corrections agency or division

  • Solitary confinement 2016

    • Prohibits punitive confinement

    • Limits punitive confinement

    • No limits on punitive confinement

    • Did not respond

  • Release decision 2016

    • Agency

    • Court

    • Parole board

    • Agency and court

  • EBP support center 2014

    Does not have a support center or collaboratives dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs.

  • Statewide risk assessment 2014

    Has statewide risk assessment.
    Risk assessment tool used: Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scale (CBRS); Structured Decision Making tool (SDM)

  • Mental health screening 2014

    Required in the following services:

    • Secure detention

    • Probation

    • Corrections

  • Recidivism indicators 2016

    • Study populations: Supervision, Placement
    • Re-offense events: Arrest, Court action
    • Follow-up periods: 12 months with adult systems reporting

Status offense issues

A wide range of non-criminal behaviors by youth are grouped as status offenses. Actions such as truancy, running away or acting stubborn can thrust an adolescent into formal juvenile court actions for services and safety but also where their liberty may be at-risk.

  • Labeling 2015

    Spectrum of labels

    Victim Child welfare perspective
    Offender Public safety perspective
    • In need of aid, assistance, or care

    • In need of services

    • In need of supervision

    • Unruly

    • Status offender

  • Age boundaries 2016

    • Status offense jurisdiction: Up to 17 years old. (No lower age specified)
    • Delinquency jurisdiction: Up to 17 years old. (No lower age specified)
  • Reported data


Systems integration [6][7]

Youth involved in more than one system require special attention and coordination.  State and local policy-makers are increasingly sharing data concerning dual status youth and establishing a wide range of exciting coordination models.

  • Agency integration 2016

    One or all are decentralized

  • State coordination 2014

    • Data sharing

    • Committees or advisory groups

    • Formal interagency MOUs

    • Informal interagency agreements

    • Statute and/or court rules

  • Reported data


Data sources

  1. ^ a b c d Easy Access to FBI Arrest Statistics
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Easy Access to Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement
  3. ^ Annual Report
    District of Columbia Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission
  4. ^ Agency Progress Report 2014
    DC Youth Rehabilitation Services
  5. ^ Public Safety Indicators (2010-2014)
    Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services
  6. ^ Annual Progress and Services Report
    Child and Family Services Agency, District of Columbia Government
  7. ^ Annual Progress and Services Report
    Child and Family Services Agency, District of Columbia Government

State resources

More about these resources »

Policy (legal) research

Juvenile justice leadership

Other stakeholders

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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