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 2018

    • Upper age

      17 years old

    • Lower age

      None specified

    • Extended age

      24 years old

  • Transfer provisions 2016

    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 [4]

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.

  • Defense structure 2017

    • Organization


    • Oversight

      Partial oversight

  • Waiver of counsel 2014

    Factors for consideration in juvenile justice statutes:

    • Age

    • Crime

    • Hearing

    • Placement

  • Indigency requirements 2013

    Indigency determination: Judicially

Racial/ethnic fairness [1][2][5][6]

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 2017

    Publishes annual indicators and assessment research.

  • DMC coordinators 2016

    Full-time state-level DMC coordinator

  • Tribal delinquency jurisdiction 2016

    Shared with: State (other)

  • 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.

  • Judicial selection 2022

    • Elected

    • Appointed

    • Combination

  • Judicial specialization 2022

    • All mixed case types

    • Mostly mixed

    • Mostly specialized

  • Caseload assignment 2022

    • Mixed assignment methods

    • Individual discretion

    • Statute/State court rules

  • Judicial experience, training, and tools 2022

    • Qualification Requirements

    • Required Annual Training

    • Required Risk/Need Assessments and Pre-Dispositional Reports

    • Juvenile Justice Bench Books

  • 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

Juvenile justice services

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.

  • Purpose clauses 2016

    • No clause

    • Parens patriae

    • Due process era

    • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

    • Developmental Approach

  • Organization structure 2022

    • Overall

      Locally operated

    • Detention

      Locally operated

    • Probation

      Locally operated

    • Reentry

      State operated

  • Corrections agency 2015

    • Independent juvenile corrections agency

    • Family/child welfare agency or division

    • Broad human services agency

    • Adult corrections agency or division

  • Intake and diversion 2016

    Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor and statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

  • 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

  • Risk assessment 2020

    • Statewide uniform assessment

    • Layered/regional assessment

    • Locally administered assessment

  • Sex offense registry 2015


  • Risk instruments 2017

    • Statute or agency policy

    • Agency recommended

    Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT)

  • Mental health screening 2014

    Required in the following services:

    • Secure detention

    • Probation

    • Corrections

  • EBP support center 2014

    Has a support center or collaboratives dedicated to coordinating activities around implementing, evaluating, and sustaining EBPs.

  • Recidivism indicators 2016

    Does not publish recidivism consistently over time.

Status offense issues [7]

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 through 17 years old. (lower age not specified)
    • Delinquency jurisdiction: Up through 17 years old. (lower age not specified)
  • Reported data


Systems integration [8][9][10]

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

    Umbrella agency integration (separate division/offices)

  • 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
    For offense category definitions, please see the glossary.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Easy Access to Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement
    For offense category definitions, please see the glossary.
  3. ^ 2013 and 2014 Washington State Juvenile Justice Annual Reports
    Washington Department of Social and Health Services, Office of Juvenile Justice
  4. ^ Status Report on Public Defense in Washington State
    Washington State Office of Public Defense
  5. ^ Juvenile Court Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)
    Washington Courts
  6. ^ Washington State Disproportionate Minority Contact Assessment
    Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice
  7. ^ Superior Court Annual Reports
    Washington Courts
  8. ^ Annual Progress and Services Report
    Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Children's Administration
  9. ^ Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act State Plan (CAPTA)
    Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Children's Administration
  10. ^ Child and Family Service Plan (CFSP)
    Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Children's Administration

State resources

Juvenile justice leadership

Other stakeholders

Policy (legal) research

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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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