Juvenile Delinquency or Crime

Juvenile Delinquency or Crime

In its simplest definition, crime is any specific act prohibited by law for which society has provided a formally sanctioned punishment. This also can include the failure of a person to perform an act specifically required by law. Types of offenses or crimes, whether committed by adults or juveniles, are classified by the seriousness of the offenses as follows: a felony is the most serious offense, punishable by a sentence to a state institution (youth authority facility or adult prison). Felonies generally include violent crimes, sex offenses, and many types of drugs and property violations.

A misdemeanor is a less serious offense for which the offender may be sentenced to probation, county detention (in a juvenile facility or jail), a fine, or some combination of the three. Misdemeanors generally include crimes such as assault and battery, petty theft, and public drunkenness. A fraction is the least serious offense and generally is punishable by a fine. Many motor vehicle violations are considered infraction. Juveniles, like adults, can be charge with a felony, a misdemeanor, or an infraction. However, as we will discuss later, juveniles can also be charged with offenses that are unique to youth Juvenile delinquency, also known as "juvenile offending", is participation in illegal behavior by minors (juveniles, i.e. individuals younger than the statutory age of majority). Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers, and courts.

Juvenile Delinquency has for sometimes past been a subject creating much social concern and as such has prompted many investigators and researchers to probe into its causes. The most interesting aspect of the subject of juvenile delinquency is that in very age it has been regarded as a problem peculiar to the contemporary society,
While the fact is that like adult criminal behaviour it has always existed in some form or the other and there is no apparent reason to expect that it will not remain so in the future. It is therefore necessary that as much meticulous care as is possible is taken to mould tie behaviour and outlook at very step and stage. Blind severity in youth tends to produce anti-social attitude in maturity (Ahamed 1966). It is sometimes argued that delinquency is not a criminal status. But this view has been . exploded by Paul W. Tappan who asserts that euphemistic terminology such as “hearing” instead of “trial”, or “disposition” instead of “sentence” should not conceal from us the fact the nature of entire procedure may be little different from that of a criminal court but it may be even worse, for it may abandon the fundamentals of justice in the guise of promoting superior justice (Tappan 1951 : 170). 

Delinquency is a legal term that was initially used in 1899 when Illinois passed the first law on juvenile delinquents behavior. Juvenile delinquency is typically defined as an act committed by a minor that violates the Penal Code of the government with authority over the area in which the act occurred.
Juvenile delinquency is a subculture. It is today recognized as a social cum human problem. The difference between the delinquent and the non-delinquent is the degree of exposure to this delinquency culture pattern. ‘Juvenile delinquency’ refers to antisocial or illegal behavior by children. So, it is the term used for offence committed by children under a particular age limit.
Generally ‘Juvenile Delinquency’ means those activities committed by under-aged persons which are forbidden by society or Penal Code. But there are lots of disagreements among the criminologists and sociologists on how to define this multidimensional phenomenon. As a result, no common or universal definition of the concept of delinquency has been developed as yet.
o   According to Paranjape, “Juvenile delinquency refers to a large variety of disapproved behaviors of children and adolescents which the society does not approve of and for which some kind of admonishment, punishment or corrective measure is justified in the public interest”. On the other hand, the Second United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held in August 1950 in London explained that juvenile delinquency is restricted to all violations of criminal law and maladjusted behaviors of minors which society disapproves.
Considering the following vital issue: (a) age and accountability of the accused; (b) probably deleterious influence of the family on him; (c) inadequate guardianship role particularly in this respect; (e) being the closest situation to adult crime that may progressively be merged into one another and so on. The problem of delinquency has guaranteed by all possible ways and means.
o    ‘Juvenile delinquency’ refers to antisocial or illegal behavior by children. So, it is the term used for offence committed by children under a particular age limit. According to the Children Act, 1974, the age limit of children is 16 years in Bangladesh. But in United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), 1989- ‘Juvenile’ refers to a person under the age of 18 years. So, children laws and policies in Bangladesh are not consistent with UNCRC. The definition of a child or a juvenile is not uniform in the laws of Bangladesh. Different legislations provide different age limits of the delinquents but all of them are within 12 to 18 years of age.
o   Sutherland (1949) defines juvenile delinquency as adolescents act out subterranean values or impulses that are an accepted part of a culture, but nonetheless tend to be obscured and to a greater or lesser extent controlled in the main-stream of society.

Span (2002) observed the juvenile delinquency as the antisocial behavior of a minor, not more than 18 years of age, which is in violation of the general welfare of people in a larger society.  Ozanne et al (1998) research suggests that juvenile delinquency is an act of cultural resistance. The simplest definition of major child related issue of many countries of the world is ‘children who act against the law’.
However, there are other definitions of the child in various other legislations. A few example of the Child Marriage Restraint Act section 2(a) defines a child and a minor if male as one under 21 years of age and if female under 18 years of age. The Bangladesh Labor Act, 2006 section 2(8) says, Kishore means someone who has reached the age of 18 years. The Vagrancy Act, section 2(3) provides that a child means a person under the age of 14 years.

There is difference between adult criminals and juvenile delinquent from some viewpoints is a product of modern legal philosophy. Delinquency has sociological implications in view of the factors are as age and criminal accountability and recognition of parental responsibility to ensure social obedience of the child. In this study juvenile delinquent means juveniles at the age 8 to 18 years who commit delinquency for the first time and has discharged under probation and after-care services under the supervision of PO.

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