Juvenile Delinquency Reviewer 4
Juvenile Delinquency Definition of Terms
1. Adjudicated delinquent: A youth who has been found by a judge
in juvenile court to have committed a violation of the criminal law,
that is, a delinquent act.The judge can formally adjudicate the
youth as an initial step before imposing a disposition
(a sentence or punishment), or the judge can decide not to
adjudicate the youth and instead impose conditions that, if met,
will result in dismissal of the charges.
2. Adjudicatory hearing: The fact finding (trial) phase of a juvenile
case in which a judge receives and weighs evidence before
deciding whether a delinquency or status offense has been
proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
3. Aggravating factors: Factors to be considered that may increase
the seriousness of the offense, such as prior offenses, weapon
use, heinous nature of crime, and threats to victims or witnesses.
4. Arrest: A law enforcement officer charges an offender with a
criminal act or violation of law and takes the offender into
custody based on probable cause.
5. Conflict resolution: Use of communication skills and creative
thinking to develop voluntary solutions that are acceptable to
6. Continuum of care: A broad array of juvenile justice programs
and services ranging from prevention programs for young
children and youth at risk of delinquency to intervention programs
serving high-risk youth in secure residential settings.
7. Curfew: A local ordinance that requires, under specific conditions
and exceptions, a specific group of persons (usually juveniles
under a certain age) to refrain from unsupervised activities after a
designated hour within the confines of a selected area, city,
8. Custody; Taken into custody: Being in the care of a criminal or
juvenile justice agency or official or being taken into custody by
a law enforcement officer pursuant to the laws of arrest if the
juvenile were an adult and the offense is criminal in nature.
9. Delinquency prevention programs: Programs and services
designed to keep at-risk youth from entering the juvenile justice
10. Delinquent act: Any act committed by a youth that would be a
criminal violation if committed by an adult.
11. Delinquent juvenile: A youth who has been found responsible for
having committed a delinquent act--the equivalent of being
found guilty of a criminal offense.
12. Detention: In custody (secure, non-secure, or home
confinement) while awaiting an adjudication hearing, disposition,
or commitment placement.
13. Detention hearing: A judicial hearing generally required to be
held within 72 hours of a youth being taken into custody, at
which point the court determines whether (1) there is probable
cause to believe that the youth has committed a delinquent act
or a court order exists that requires the continued detention of
the youth, and (2) continued detention is required pending an
14. Disposition hearing: The hearing in a juvenile case (like a
sentencing hearing in criminal court) at which the court receives
a predisposition report containing information and
recommendations to help determine the appropriate sanction.
These sanctions can include probation, commitment to the
custody of the state's department of juvenile justice, or
15. Diversion: A process by which a youth is channeled from the
juvenile justice system. Examples are Informal Adjustment,
Truancy Court, etc.
16. Intake: The process used for every youth referred to juvenile
court. Intake involves screening each youth to determine the
appropriateness for release or referral to a diversionary program
or agency for nonofficial or nonjudicial handling. This screening
also identifies the presence of medical, psychiatric,
psychological, substance abuse, and educational problems or
other conditions that may have caused the youth to come to
the attention of law enforcement or intake. Intake includes initial
screening of a status offender to determine the recommended
action to be taken in the best interests of the youth, the family,
and the community.
17. Juvenile delinquency program: Any program or activity related
to juvenile delinquency prevention, control, diversion,
intervention,treatment, rehabilitation, planning, education,
training, and research.
18. Mediation: A process by which a neutral third person, or
mediator, encourages and facilitates the resolution of a dispute
between two or more parties. It is an informal process designed
to help the disputants reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary
agreement. Decision making authority rests with the parties.
The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, helping
the parties identify issues, fostering joint problem solving, and
exploring settlement alternatives.
19. Mentoring: Generally involves providing support and guidance to
and spending time on a regular basis with a youth. Mentoring
activities can include participating in sports, playing games,
shopping, taking hikes, helping with homework, and
20. Protective factors: Factors that help to reduce the impact of
risk factors in a young person's life.
21. Risk factors: Certain problem behaviors present risk factors in
a young person's life that may contribute to later delinquency.
A few examples include the availability of drugs and firearms in
the community, family conflict, and friends who engage in
22. Status offenses: Non-criminal offenses only applicable to
children--for example, being truant, running away from home,
possessing alcohol or cigarettes, or violating curfew.
23. Truant: A young person who is absent from school without
permission or authorization.
24. Victimization: The result of a planned or accidental act that
causes physical or psychological harm.
25. Violent crime: Crimes of violence include rape, robbery,
assault, or murder.
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