Number of Cases|
In 1996, U.S. juvenile courts petitioned and formally disposed an estimated 162,000 status offense cases (table 16).6 In 44,800 of these cases, the most serious charge was liquor law violation. Truancy was the most serious charge in another 39,300 cases, running away in 25,800 cases, and ungovernability in 20,100 cases. Other miscellaneous status offenses (such as curfew violations, tobacco offenses, violations of court orders in status offense cases, and any status offenses coded as "other" in a jurisdiction's original data) accounted for the remaining 32,000 cases.7
Between 1987 and 1996, the number of petitioned status offense cases seen in U.S. juvenile courts increased 101%. The number of status cases involving truancy climbed 92%, cases involving charges of running away grew 83%, and liquor law violation cases increased 77%. The largest proportionate increase in formally processed status offense cases during that 10-year period was in the miscellaneous category, possibly reflecting an increase in referrals for curfew violations.