What Challenges Are Boys Facing, and What Opportunities Exist To Address Those Challenges? Fact Sheet: Juvenile Delinquency*. Some Facts About Boys and Juvenile Delinquency


Involvement with the Juvenile Justice System


  • In 2006, arrests of boys represented more than 70% of all juvenile arrests.(1)
  • Between 1995 and 2004, the juvenile delinquency caseload for boys decreased by 13% and the juvenile delinquency caseload for girls increased by 14%.(2)
  • In 2002, African American boys made up only 16% of the juvenile population, but almost 30% of the juvenile delinquency caseload.(3)
  • In 2004, almost three-quarters of young people prosecuted in juvenile courts were boys.(4)
  • In 2003, boys represented 85% of juvenile offenders in custody in residential placement.(5)
  • In 2003, boys tended to stay in custody in residential facilities longer than girls did, with a median of 71 days compared to 48 days.(6)
  • From 1994 to 2004, there was a 21% increase in the number of youth who were held in adult jails.(7)
  • Recidivism, or reoffense rates of young people range from 12% to 55%, given that States might measure rearrest, rereferral to court, reconviction, or reconfinement.(8)

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes include murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

  • In 2006, nearly 20% of people arrested for violent crimes were under the age of 18 and boys represented 83% of juvenile arrests for these violent crimes.(9),(10)
  • The violent crime arrest rate increased by more than 60% from 1987 to 1994, but the 2006 rate for boys fell below the 1980 arrest rate.(11)
  • In 2006, about one-quarter of boys reported they carried a handgun by the age of 17, while 11% reported they belonged to a gang.(12)
  • Violent crimes committed by juveniles in 2006 occurred most often between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.–around the time the school day ended.(13)

Property Crimes

Property crimes include burglary, larceny, theft, and arson.

  • More than 25% of persons arrested for property crimes were under age 18 and boys made up 68% of juvenile arrests for property crimes, according to 2006 figures.(14)
  • The juvenile arrest rate for property crimes in 2006 was less than half of what it was in 1980.(15)

Status Offenses

Status offenses are behaviors that are considered violations of the law only if committed by juveniles, such as truancy, running away from home, and underage drinking.

  • Girls are more often arrested for status offenses than for criminal offenses. Boys are arrested for criminal offenses more than girls are.(16)

Violent Crime and Property Crime Indices/Arrests per 100,000 Juveniles Ages 10-17

Violent Crime and Property Crime Indices/Arrests per 100,000 Juveniles Ages 10-17. See text for explanation of graph.

Source: Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2006 National Report

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