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Attorney General Bill Lockyer Releases Annual Juvenile Justice Report
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today released the Department of Justice’s third annual Juvenile Justice in California report, a compilation of crime data depicting the path of juveniles through the state’s criminal justice system.
The main highlight of this year’s report shows there were 15,000 less arrests for crimes committed by juveniles in 2004, down to 206,201 from 221,875 in 2003.
California law requires the Department of Justice to compile and publish the annual report in order to aid the criminal justice system in identifying new approaches to curbing juvenile crime. The report provides specific information on the juvenile population, race/ethnic groups, gender, number of arrests, referrals to probation departments, juvenile court dispositions, offenses, and dispositions for juveniles tried in adult courts.
“Reaching high risk youth before they become offenders requires shared leadership between the community, schools and law enforcement,” Lockyer said. “Gathering and publishing this data is an important tool for all of us to develop strategies that will help at-risk youth and society.”
Other 2004 highlights:
• Of the 206,201 juveniles arrested in 2004, 78.4 percent were referred to probation, 19.4 percent were counseled and released and 2.1 percent were turned over to another law enforcement jurisdiction. Most formal juvenile court hearings resulted in the juvenile being made a ward of the court (63.9 percent) and 252 (0.3 percent) were remanded to adult court.
• In 2004, misdemeanor arrests exceeded felony arrests by more than two to one (60 percent vs. 26.4 percent) and status offense arrests by more than four to one (60 percent vs. 13.6 percent). Status offenses are acts that are offenses only when committed by a juvenile, such as truancy, curfew violations, incorrigibility and running away.
• Out of 1,049 juveniles convicted in adult court in 2004, 250 (23.8 percent) received a prison/CYA sentence, 305 (29.1 percent) received probation with jail, 265 (25.3 percent) received a fine, 144 (13.7 percent) received probation, and 85 (8.1 percent) received jail time or another action.
The 2004 publication reflects three changes from juvenile justice reports issued in the past. First, population data is included in the data analysis section. Population charts were added to show gender, age and race/ethnic group differences.
Second, trend data on arrests, arrest level dispositions, referrals to probation, referral dispositions and juvenile court dispositions were added to the data analysis section.
Third, a new section, “Minority Contact,” was added to this year’s report. This section examines the processing of minority youth through the California juvenile justice system.
This report is based on data provided by 52 of the state’s 58 county probation departments representing about 92 percent of California’s population. Of the remaining six counties, Del Norte, Plumas, San Joaquin, and Sierra were unable to provide any data, while Riverside and Ventura only provided partial data for 2004. Therefore, the data from these six counties are not included in this report.
The full report can be viewed on the Attorney General’s website at http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/publications/misc/jj04/preface.pdf .