10.3 to 16.4 percent), weapon offenses (growing from 8.1 to 12 percent), and disorderly conduct (2.7 to 3.6 percent).

Some of the offenses with the largest increases in the odds of placement, however, involved relatively few cases (e.g., stolen property offenses). As a result, the change in placement rates for these offenses contributed little to the overall growth in placements. The higher placement rate for stolen property cases, as an example, generated an increase of just 200 placement cases between 1985 and 2008. Offense categories with more volume sometimes resulted in many new cases placed out of the home, even when the relative increase in their rate of placement was smaller. When one considers the number of new placement cases generated rather than changes in the relative rate of placement, the top five offense categories responsible for expanding the number of juveniles involved in out-of-home placement cases were obstruction of justice, simple assault, drug law violations, the Violent Crime Index offenses, and vandalism. Together, the growth in placements for these offenses accounted for an increase of 52,300 cases between 1985 and 2008, nearly equal to the increase in placement overall (see Table 3-5).

Length of Confinement

The amount of time youthful offenders spend confined to an out-of-home placement depends on many factors, such as time in detention prior to adjudication, the severity of their offense(s), their commitment status, and the jurisdiction’s particular policies and practices. There are no national data to examine trends in the lengths of stay in out-of-home placements. Current surveys measure how long youthful offenders have been in a facility at the time of the survey. The Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement (CJRP), described further in Chapter 10, collects individual records on each

TABLE 3-5 The Top Five Offense Categories in the Expansion of Juvenile Out-of-Home Placements

Offense Category Increase in Placements
Obstruction of justice 17,800 cases
Simple assault 13,700 cases
Drug law violations 9,500 cases
Violent Crime Index 7,500 cases
Vandalism 3,800 cases
Total 52,300 cases
SOURCES: Sickmund, Sladky, and Kang (2011). Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics: 1985-2008. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezajcs/. Data source: National Center for Juvenile Justice (2011). National Juvenile Court Data Archive: Juvenile court case records 1985-2008 [machine-readable data files]. Pittsburgh, PA: NCJJ [producer].


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