Juvenile delinquency has been a growing complicated issue around the world. Thus, a clearer view and understanding of juvenile delinquency is necessary to put an end to this problem among youth. Today, many developing countries take time to develop solutions and programs to resolve it. Well-developed countries also engage themselves in programs the aim of which is to prevent juvenile crimes. Definition and Causes of Juvenile Delinquency Juvenile delinquency is a legal term for behavior of children and adolescents that adults would be judged criminal under law.
It varies between the age of 14 to 21 (Juvenile, 2007). Juvenile delinquency is often committed by an individual between the age of 12 and 20. This covers various violations against legal and social norms. Most common cases of juvenile delinquency involve rape, robbery, and theft, most of which are group crimes. This is because adolescence is the period when a person starts to have his own circle of friends and be involved in group activities to feel a sense of belongingness.
The United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency asserts that: youthful behavior or conduct that does not conform to overall social norms and values is often part of the maturation and growth process and tends to disappear spontaneously in most individuals with the transition to adulthood; a great majority of young people commit some kind of petty offense at some point during their adolescence without this turning into a criminal career in the long term (“The Riyadh Guide,” 1990).
The transition from childhood to adolescence is determined by certain factors when it comes to relationship. The youth of today tend to become too aggressive towards the environment and the people they interact with. All are subject to risks regardless of gender, age, or social origin. However, during this stage of development, the criminal personality may start to develop, which can lead to delinquent behavior and commitment of crimes. Creation of the Juvenile Justice System
In the United States, the first juvenile justice system was drafted during the Age of Enlightenment, sometime during the late 1800s. It was created in response to the growing problem regarding the youth offenders (Age of Enlightenment, 2006). After the idea was introduced, the juvenile justice system underwent many reforms. It was established as a separate system from the adult justice system. They have similarities and differences that made controversies in treating juvenile and adult offenders. Current Trend of Juvenile Justice System
A series of juvenile justice systems have been implemented in countries worldwide in order to discipline the youth the way adult criminals are given punishment according to the governing laws of the country. The juvenile justice system is different from the adult criminal justice system in many ways. There are lighter provisions and penalties for a youth offender. There are certain constitutional rights for a criminal defendant available to an adult offender that may not be available for a juvenile offender.
There are also different procedures for a juvenile trial based on court procedures. Juvenile probation officers are vital in every case of juvenile delinquency activities. In most systems, once a juvenile offender is found guilty of a certain act, there is a rehabilitation process and disciplinary measures provided. Difference of Juvenile and how it discriminates against minorities One the main differences of the juvenile justice system and adult justice system is that the juvenile offender is branded as a status offender.
Calderon (2006) defines a status offender as “someone charged with an offense that would not be a crime if committed by an adult” (Calderon, 2006). For instance, drinking alcoholic beverages while under the legal drinking age is a violation that covers only the underage. Thus, this status offense is included in the juvenile justice system. These laws that are “aimed at preventing status offenses are a conscientious of society in preventing future harm to children and the community[;] [they are] not just for disciplinary actions” (Calderon, 2006).