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DJJ Reports Record Low in Delinquency Referrals for School-Related Offenses

DJJ Study Reflects 34 Percent Decline Over the Past Six Years

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Tallahassee, FL -- The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice recently released its annual Delinquency in Florida's Schools Report, which shows double-digit and record declines in school-related delinquency measures. Florida experienced a 34 percent decline of school related referrals over the past six years and 31 percent fewer youth were arrested in Florida's schools during the most current fiscal year.

"We are excited by the overall drop in delinquency numbers, particularly the significant drop in referrals for school-related offenses," said DJJ Secretary Frank Peterman Jr. "DJJ has been working hard with our stakeholders to foster the success of delinquent youths as they work to turn their lives around. The changes both within and outside the juvenile justice continuum should be credited with improvements."

Data from the past five fiscal years are compiled in this report, showing encouraging trends at several stages in the juvenile justice system. The drop in delinquency referrals for school-related offenses has shown an impressive decline in the latest profile. A sampling of the findings regarding delinquency referrals for school-related offenses includes:

  • School-related delinquency referrals during FY2009-10 accounted for 15 percent of all the cases handled by DJJ, which is down from 19 percent during FY 2004-05.
  • A statewide average of 13 school-related delinquency referrals were received by DJJ for every 1,000 public school students (grades 6-12).
  • Black males and females accounted for almost half (47 percent) of all school‐related referrals, while only representing 21 percent of the youth ages 10-17 in Florida. (The differences are substantial between white youth and their nonwhite counterparts in case outcomes for school-related offenses. For example, black males were substantially more likely to receive commitment dispositions or to have their cases transferred to adult court. In addition, black youth were more likely to have their cases ultimately dismissed than their white counterparts.)
  • Misdemeanor "disorderly conduct" and "assault and battery" accounted for 36 percent of all school‐related delinquency referrals.
  • Drug and weapon offenses accounted for 26 percent of all school‐related referrals.
  • Misdemeanors accounted for 67 percent of school‐related referrals.
  • First time delinquents accounted for 57 percent of the youth receiving school-related referrals during FY2009-10.
  • School-related delinquency referrals that were ultimately dismissed/not filed or received some type of diversion service totaled 63 percent during FY2009-10.
  • Of youth that were referred from schools, 88 percent had at least one previous out-of-school suspension.
  • Of youth referred from schools, 34 percent were identified as Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students.

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 web site. To view the Profile, please visit: .

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