The term “juvenile” refers to a person who is not yet an adult, typically a minor or someone under the age of 18. In the legal system, the term “juvenile” is used to describe a young person who is accused of a crime or in need of protection. Juvenile justice refers to the branch of the legal system that deals with minors who are accused of committing crimes or are in need of protection.
In other contexts, “juvenile” can refer to traits or characteristics that are considered immature, inexperienced, or childlike. For example, a “juvenile sense of humor” might refer to a person’s enjoyment of silly jokes or pranks.
- The juvenile justice system is designed to be more rehabilitation-oriented than the adult criminal justice system, as minors are considered less responsible for their actions and have greater potential for reform and growth.
- Juvenile courts handle a wide range of cases, including delinquency (criminal) cases, dependency (neglect and abuse) cases, and status offenses (behavior that is only a crime for minors, such as truancy or running away from home).
- Juvenile detention facilities, also known as juvenile halls or youth detention centers, are secure facilities that house minors who are awaiting trial or serving a sentence for a criminal offense.
- Juvenile justice programs and initiatives aim to reduce recidivism and provide minors with the tools and resources they need to succeed and become productive members of society.