Juvenile incarceration and the number of juvenile cases in juvenile courts have decreased in recent decades, say two newly-issued reports. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics details how juvenile incarceration in adult prisons or jails peaked in 2008 and reached a new low in 2021. The percentage of the total jail population who were juveniles decreased in 2021, and juveniles' total percentage of the prison population has declined since 2002. Meanwhile, the National Center for Juvenile Justice said the number of delinquency cases processed by juvenile courts decrease 69% between 2005 and 2020.
Juvenile court cases involving homicide increased 47 percent between 2016 and 2020. Arrests of juveniles involving homicide also increased, by 11%. However, there were large decreases in juvenile court cases involving drugs, liquor law violations and larceny-theft for all ages below 17, and cases within each racial category declined from 2005 to 2020. The NCJJ report said that while COVID-19 "likely impacted court activities, it is not possible to determine the true impact" of COVID-19 on delinquency case processing in in 2020.