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Race of Youth

Between 1987 and 1996, the number of delinquency cases processed by juvenile courts involving white youth increased 39%, the number of cases involving black youth increased 68%, and the number involving youth of other races rose 103% (table 5).4 In 1996, the number of delinquency cases involving white youth exceeded the number involving black youth by a margin of 2.2 to 1, compared with a ratio of 2.6 to 1 in 1987.

Table 5: Percent Change in Delinquency Cases and Case Rates, by Race, 1987-1996
 
Table 5
 
Note: Detail may not add to totals because of rounding. Percent change calculations are based on unrounded numbers.

The delinquency case rate for black youth was nearly 2.5 times the rate for white youth in 1996 (124.1 compared with 51.0 per 1,000). The person offense case rate for black youth was more than three times greater than the corresponding rate for white youth. Similarly, the drug offense and public order case rates for black youth were nearly three times the rates for white youth. The property offense case rate for blacks was nearly double the rate for whites. In all offense categories, the case rate for juveniles of other races was lower than the corresponding rates for either black or white juveniles.

Property offense cases accounted for 53% of all 1996 delinquency cases processed by juvenile courts involving white youth, 42% of those involving black youth, and 57% of those involving youth of other races. The caseload of black youth involved a higher proportion of person offense cases (27%) than either the caseload of white youth (19%) or the caseload for other races (20%). Drug law violations accounted for approximately equal proportions of delinquency cases involving black youth (11%) and white youth (10%) and a smaller proportion of cases involving youth of other races (6%).

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Offenders in Juvenile Court, 1996Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  July 1999