Waivers of juvenile delinquency cases to adult court are down markedly from their peak in 1994, and black juveniles now make up a smaller proportion of those being transferred, reports Youth Today, citing data from the Pittsburgh-based National Center for Juvenile Justice. Forty-four percent of the 13,100 juveniles transferred in 1994 were black; 37 percent of the 8,500 juveniles waived to adult court in 2007 were black.
The waiver category includes only decisions by judges to move a juvenile to adult court. These statistics contain no information on the racial proportions of juveniles directly transferred by statute or prosecutorial discretion. Among other data reported, from 2003 to 2007, juvenile arrests for robbery went up 35 percent; juvenile court cases for robbery were up 45 percent in that time. Those statistics, and a 5 percent increase in criminal homicide cases, drove a 13 percent spike in violent crime cases involving juveniles during the same period. Simple assault cases declined 4 percent between 2003 and 2007, but the long-term increase in that charge is staggering. In 1985 juvenile courts saw 3.8 cases of simple assault for every 1,000 youth between the ages 10 and 18. By 2007? The rate was 8.8 per 1,000.