In this paper I will be discussing Juvenile Crime and Delinquency in the United States. I will focus on the laws pertaining to juvenile crime and delinquency and some of the causes that have led juveniles to commit crimes. Also, I will discuss situations where juveniles can be tried as an adult and face adult penalties for the crime committed. Statistics will be presented pertaining to some of the more recognized crimes committed by juveniles. I will go into detail of who is responsible for juveniles and what can be done to prevent juveniles from continuing a life of crime.
In the United States, there are a growing number of juveniles now involved in acts of crime. This has become a large epidemic for our country and is affecting our nation as a whole. Juveniles are defined as a person under the age of 18; however this definition varies from state to state. All states have set age limits to determine juveniles from adults; however juveniles can be considered an adult for more serious crimes. Most states transfer cases from juvenile courts to criminal courts when juveniles are being tried as adults for more serious crimes, such as robbery and murder. These crimes are subject to harsher punishments including prison sentences. Before juvenile courts, juveniles, under the age of 7, were not responsible for criminal behavior based on the thought they were not capable of criminal intent. Laws were created for juveniles in hope of protecting and rehabilitating them before adulthood. Juvenile crime differs from that of juvenile delinquency. Delinquency is considered to be acts less than crime such as truancy or deviant behavior. Juveniles hold a higher percentage in minor crimes including vandalism, shoplifting, underage drinking, and the abuse of drugs.
The crimes committed by juveniles and the reasons why juveniles commit such acts have been studied for many decades. Between 1976 and 1996, juveniles living in poverty rose 42% and...