Juvenile Crime Law is a subcategory of Juvenile Law. Although a type of criminal law, juvenile crime law only deals with under-age individuals, who are treated very differently than adults in criminal law, and usually have their own courts of law.

Minors under the age of 18 years, who commit a crime, or otherwise violate established rules and statutes, are identified as juvenile delinquents, juvenile offenders, youthful offenders, or delinquent minors. Laws governing juvenile delinquency are largely enacted and regulated on a state by state basis. The doctrine of parents Patrice allows the state to essentially act as parent to a youth by legislation, for the purpose of maintenance, custody, care and protection of the children within the state. Most states have enacted a juvenile code. They determine the rules in taking a minor into custody, how the juvenile may be questioned, restitution orders, conditions of supervision and more. The juvenile is considered to be a resident of the state where the person who has legal custody of the minor resides.

In several states, some minors are classified as incorrigible or status offenders when they refuse to obey their parents and/or commit acts, which while not considered criminal by adults, are prohibited due to the age of the minor offender. This includes school truancy, running away from home, curfew violations, drinking alcohol, or behaving in an unsafe or unhealthy manner.

Juvenile courts hear cases dealing with juvenile delinquents, incorrigible youth or status offenders, and issues of child neglect, abandonment or abuse (juvenile dependency cases). These courts are considered civil, not criminal and the minor is charged with committing a delinquent act, rather than a crime. When a judge determines that a minor has committed a delinquent act, he adjudges the juvenile to be a ward of the court, and is allowed broad discretion when disposing of the case. For status offenders this can include suspension of their license, paying a fine, community service and ordering counselings or specialised classes. In delinquency cases the juvenile can be ordered to complete the same things and more, such as probation, home confinement, placement in a relative’s home or in a foster or group home, and even incarceration in juvenile corrections In extreme cases the judge can send the youth to an adult jail or state prison.

In addition to specialised courts of law for juvenile offences, they are also detained in separate facilities, usually called juvenile corrections, (and often referred to as juvie). These include short term facilities called juvenile halls or juvenile detention facilities and for longer terms, secured juvenile facilities. This corrections system includes social workers and probation officers, and the end goal is to rehabilitate the offender and deter them from repeat offences. They strive to help the juvenile avoid a life of crime by teaching helpful and effective coping and social skills.

Historically, it was established that minors were too young to be held responsible for criminal behaviour and the juvenile law system was set up to handle these offenders, with a focus on rehabilitation, not punishment. However, although still under the legal age of majority, it is becoming more and more common for a minor who commits a serious crime (such as murder), to be charged as an adult and tried in a criminal court of law. They are then no longer under the juvenile system, but enter the criminal law system. Many states have determined that children as young as 13 are now legally responsible for their repeated criminal behaviour, or heinous crimes.

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