This study focuses on court conviction rates—that is, the numbers and proportion of the population in England and Wales who are convicted of a crime between the ages of 10–25. Data on over 47,000 male and 10,000 female offenders for six specific birth cohorts (those born in 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1973 and 1978)
were extracted from the Offenders Index. We related convictions in three age groups (10–15, 16–20, 21–25) to population estimates for these age groups. Striking differences in the conviction rates over time were observed for both males and females. There is a remarkable decline among the 10–15 age group for more recent cohorts which echoes the increasing use of court diversionary procedures in this age group. There is no corresponding increase in conviction rates for the later age groups. These figures suggest that efforts in the 1980s and early 1990s to divert offenders away from court convictions have been successful, and that such diversionary schemes need to be encouraged.