2022 juvenile court report released

Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 9:34 AM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Total juvenile delinquent referrals rose in 2022. Last year 5,749 minors were referred to juvenile court for offenses. This is up from the 4,985 that were referred in 2021.

The juvenile court director said this is partially because of a restructuring in the court.

In the 2021 legislative session, child in need of services referrals, or CHINS, were decriminalized.

Those referrals now head to the Human Service Zones, which handle the cases and tracks numbers instead of the court.

The director said this is why CHINS referrals dropped from 2,486 in 2021 to 1,297 last year, because they no longer deal with those cases.

“A juvenile delinquency referral would refer to a violation of the criminal code. A child in need of services, that’s what CHINS stands for, would be what we used to call a status offense. So that would be like a runaway, a curfew, unruly, ungovernable behavior,” said juvenile court Director Carrie Hjellming.

Administrative members of the juvenile court system will soon participate in an upcoming legislative study regarding establishing a separate delinquency code to replace the adult code in juvenile cases.