A juvenile delinquent is a minor (usually under 18 years
of age) who commits crimes or antisocial behaviors
and cannot be controlled by the authority of his/her
parents. Juvenile delinquents have not yet reached an
age in which they can be treated as an adult according
the laws of the community, although exceptions to this
exist and some juveniles are treated as adults.
The decision of whether to charge a juvenile defender as an adult or as a juvenile is left
up to the prosecutor (district attorney). If a juvenile delinquency is not charged as an
adult, the individual is still subject to legal action, according to laws and procedures that
relate to minors. As such, there are juvenile courts and juvenile detention centers.
Most juvenile delinquents are young men. Other risk factor include racial minority status
(i.e., African-American, Latino), poverty, poor parental monitoring, parenting style
(permissive, indulgent, neglectful, and harsh), and/or associating with negative peer
groups.There are also at risk youth programs, youth boot camps, juvenile boot camps,
juvenile rehabilitation programs, and Scared Straight programs designed to help juvenile
delinquents stop their antisocial behaviors.
delinquent comes from the Latin word "juvenus" meaning "youthful," and the Latin word
"delinquere" meaning "to fail." Put the two words together and you have "to fail youthful,"
meaning youths that fail.