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Juv. Delinquency At Record Low

December 06, 2010

Florida’s delinquency rate is a strong indicator that Florida is now safer from youth crime and delinquency than it has been since at least 1991.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has released the annual “Delinquency Profile,” which shows double-digit and record declines in key juvenile-delinquency measures. Significant highlights from the profile are that Florida’s delinquency rate is at an all-time low and violent youth offenses are down.

“The Department has been working hard with juvenile justice stakeholders to foster the success of delinquent youths as they work to turn their lives around,” said DJJ Secretary Frank Peterman Jr. He said they also are diverting youths to services away from DJJ when it is appropriate and the youth does not endanger public safety. He added, “Changes both within and outside the juvenile justice continuum should be credited for these improvements.”

Data from the past five fiscal years are compiled in the 2010 Delinquency Profile, showing encouraging trends at several stages in the juvenile justice system. Positive trends in delinquency referrals at the statewide level have been found in almost every major category. A sampling of the findings in this year’s profile includes:

  • The delinquency rate, which is the number of delinquency referrals per thousand youths between the ages of 10-17, is now 65. At its peak in fiscal year (FY) 1994-95, it was 123. In FY 1991-92, when the tracking of this statistic began, it was 111.
  • Juvenile arrests that are referred to DJJ continue to decrease at an accelerating rate. In FY 2007-08, law enforcement referred 145,598 juvenile arrests to DJJ, which dropped 5 percent in FY 2008-09 to 138,308. The number of referrals fell an additional 12 percent in FY 2009-10, to 121,689.
  • The number of youths referred to DJJ continues to decrease at the same rates as referrals, falling 5 percent from 90,009 in FY 2007-08 to 85,221 in FY 2008-09 and decreasing another 12 percent to 75,382 in FY 2009-10.
  • The number of youths placed under DJJ-supervised probation declined more than 9 percent between FY2008-09 and FY2009-10, and totaled 21,666 last year.
  • The number of youths court-ordered to residential-commitment programs was 5,476 for FY 2009-10, a decline of 14 percent from FY 2008-09.
  • In FY 2009-10, the number of youths transferred to adult court fell to 2,752, the lowest annual total since FY 2005-06.

The DJJ Delinquency Profile contains comprehensive data on the types of offenses and youth referred to DJJ by law enforcement, with classifications by demographic groups. The automated report presents statistics at the state, county and judicial circuit levels and serves as a useful reference tool for anyone examining Florida’s juvenile justice system. Delinquency Profiles containing data for the past 10 years are available via the DJJ website.

To view the Profile, visit the Department of Juvenile Justice website, Newsroom link.