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Press Release Detail

Juvenile delinquency continues to decline, DJJ reports

For immediate release:


DJJ Communications


Tallahassee, Fla. -- Juvenile delinquency figures have again declined statewide in all major categories with a 10 percent overall drop estimated for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011-12, according to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

DJJ estimates the total number of referrals to the state’s juvenile justice system may fall below 100,000 this year, which would be the fewest in the agency’s history, according to a preliminary report released today. (Click here to view the preliminary report.) 

Analysis of delinquency referrals for the first eight months of FY 2011-12 (July-December 2011 and January-February 2012) shows:

  • Misdemeanor referrals dropped 13 percent;
  • Felony referrals declined  six percent, with violent felony referrals continuing a three-year trend of decline; 
  • Administrative referrals (mainly violations of probation), declined 10 percent;
  • The number of referrals to DJJ for delinquency declined in 50 of 67 counties; and 
  • Referrals for narcotics possession and distribution continue to drop.

The significant decrease in misdemeanor referrals, which had the greatest decline, can be attributed to increased use of civil citations and other alternatives to arrest. DJJ anticipates even steeper declines in this category for FY 2012-13 due to legislation passed in 2011 requiring statewide implementation of the civil citation process.

 "Forty-seven percent of referrals are for misdemeanor offenses,” said DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters. “This presents us with a tremendous opportunity to work with community leaders and law enforcement to keep delinquent youth from progressing deeper into the system and to help prevent other children from committing offenses in the first place."

Final figures for FY 2011-12 will be released in the DJJ Comprehensive Accountability Report later this year. The state’s fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30.

Similar information released in February reported a substantial drop in youth referrals from schools.(Click here for more information on the drop in school referrals.)