Q:

What were the most common criminal charges filed against juveniles in 2014?

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Quick Answer

As of 2015, the latest period for which data is available on juvenile offenders in the United States is 2007 through 2008. At that time, 26 percent of juveniles in the prison system were incarcerated for violent offenses, such as homicide and aggravated assault, states the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

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Full Answer

During the same period, over 40 percent of juveniles in the criminal justice system were incarcerated for crimes against property, non-violent offenses against others and so-called status offenses, such as consuming alcohol or truancy, the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports. Such incarcerations are part of a national trend towards criminalizing relatively minor school-related offenses, ThinkProgress explains. For example, in 2005, the state of Florida arrested 28,000 juveniles for minor disciplinary issues such as failing to put a cell phone away in class or being on school grounds while on suspension. A disproportionate number of those arrested and eventually incarcerated were of African American descent.

As of 2007, the United States had 60,426 youthful offenders behind bars, says the Annie E. Casey Foundation. While this number is down from 75,406 in 1997, the United states continues to incarcerate more of its citizens than any other country, the International Center for Prison Studies reports. The United States is also the only country in the world that sentences children under the age of 18 to life in prison without the possibility of parole, says the Huffington Post.

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