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What is Juvenile Delinquency?. Delinquency as Deviance. A Preliminary Definition. “Juvenile delinquency is an act committed by a minor which violates the penal code of the government with authority over the area in which the act occurred.”. A Preliminary Distinction. Delinquent Offenses

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What is Juvenile Delinquency?

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What is Juvenile Delinquency?

Delinquency as Deviance


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A Preliminary Definition...

“Juvenile delinquency is an act committed by a minor which violates the penal code of the government with authority over the area in which the act occurred.”


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A Preliminary Distinction...

Delinquent Offenses

  • Acts which are considered criminal if committed by adults, and punishable as criminal

    Status Offenses

  • Offenses which are judicable only when committed by juveniles

  • Examples include running away from home, truancy, etc.



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Relativity of Norms, Deviance and Delinquency

Norms vary across a number of dimensions:

  • Time

  • Societies

  • Groups within a single society

  • Situations



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Jurisdictional Definitions of Delinquency

Each state has its own definition of what constitutes delinquency. Differences are most pronounced in the area of status offenses.


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Who is the Juvenile Delinquent?

Issue 1: Level of Involvement in the Juvenile Justice System

Living in a

delinquent

environment

Reporting of

act to police

Adjudication

Appearance

in court

Institutionalization

Commission of

a delinquent

offense

Arrest


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Who is the Juvenile Delinquent?

Issue 2: Age

  • Lower age limits

    • Most states abide by a common law definition of 7 or 10

    • Some states specify either of these in their code

  • Upper age limits

    • All states have an upper age limit (after which one is adjudicated an adult)

    • Most states establish age 18 as age of majority

    • Some establish 16 or 17, and one (Wyoming) establishes 19

  • What does age mean?

    • Most states define “age” as the age at which offense was committed

    • Several states define “age” as the age at apprehension


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