Monday, 4 May 2015

Important Terms in relation to Juvenile Justice System

Parens Patriae- The power of the state to act on behalf of the child and provide care and protection equivalent to that of a parent

Child savers- Nineteenth century reformers who developed programs for troubled youth and influenced legislation creating the juvenile justice system; today some critics view them as being more concerned with control of poor than with their welfare

Delinquency- Juvenile who has been adjudicated by a judicial officer of juvenile court as having committed a delinquent act

Best interest of the child- A philosophical viewpoint that encourages the state to take control of wayward children and provide care, custody and treatment to remedy delinquent behavior.

Need for treatment- The criteria on which juvenile sentencing are based. Ideally, juveniles are treated according to their need for treatment and not for the seriousness of the delinquency act they committed.
Waiver (also known as bind-over or removal) - Transferring legal jurisdiction over the most serious and experienced juvenile offenders to the adult court for criminal prosecution. 

Status offense- Conduct that is illegal only because the child is underage.

Dark figures of crime- Incidents of crime and delinquency that go undetected by police

Age of onset- Age at which youth begin their delinquent career; early onset is believed to be liked with chronic offending patterns

Developmental view of delinquency- Age of onset of a delinquent career has an important effect on its length; those who demonstrate antisocial tendencies at a very early age are more likely to commit more crimes for longer period of time. This is referred to as the developmental view of delinquency.


Continuity of crime- The idea that chronic juvenile offenders are likely to continue violating the law as adults

Choice Theory- The theory holds that youth will engage in delinquent and criminal behavior after weighing the consequences and benefits of their actions; delinquent behavior is a rational choice made by a motivated offender who perceives that the chances of gain outweigh any possible punishment or loss.

Trait theory- The theory holds that youth engage in delinquent or criminal behavior due to aberrant physical or psychological traits that govern behavioral choices; delinquent actions are impulsive or instinctual rather than rational choices.

Free will- The view that youths are in charge of their own destinies and are free to make personal behavior choices unencumbered by environmental factors.

Utilitarian- A person who believes that people weigh the benefit and consequences of their future actions before deciding a course of behavior

Classical criminology- Holds that decisions to violate the law are weighed against possible punishment and to deter crime the pain of punishment must outweigh the benefit of illegal gain; let the punishment fit the crime.

Routine activities theory- The view that crime is a “normal” function of the routine activities of modern living; offenses can be expected if there is a motivated offender and a suitable target that is not protected by capable guardians.


Predatory crimes- Violent crimes against persons and crimes in which an offender attempts to steal an object directly from its holder. 

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