Definitions

juvenile

juvenile

[joo-vuh-nl, -nahyl]
delinquency, juvenile: see juvenile delinquency.

Body of written works produced to entertain or instruct young people. The genre encompasses a wide range of works, including acknowledged classics of world literature, picture books and easy-to-read stories, and fairy tales, lullabies, fables, folk songs, and other, primarily orally transmitted, materials. It emerged as a distinct and independent form only in the second half of the 18th century and blossomed in the 19th century. In the 20th century, with the attainment of near-universal literacy in most developed nations, the diversity in children's books came almost to rival that of adult popular literature.

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Criminal behaviour carried out by a juvenile. Young males make up the bulk of the delinquent population (about 80percnt in the U.S.) in all countries in which the behaviour is reported. Theories regarding delinquency's causes focus on the social and economic characteristics of the offender's family, the values communicated by the parents, and the nature of youth and criminal subcultures, including gangs. In general, both “push” and “pull” factors are involved. Most delinquents apparently do not continue criminal behaviour into their adult lives but rather adjust to societal standards. The most common punishment for delinquent offenders is probation, whereby the delinquent is given a suspended sentence and in return must live by a prescribed set of rules under the supervision of a probation officer. Seealso criminology; penology.

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Special court handling problems of delinquent, neglected, or abused children. Two types of cases are processed by a juvenile court: civil matters, often concerning care of an abandoned or impoverished child, and criminal matters, arising from antisocial behaviour by the child. Most statutes provide that all persons under a given age (often 18 years) must first be processed by the juvenile court, which can then, at its discretion, assign the case to an ordinary court. Before the creation of the first juvenile court, in Chicago in 1899, and the subsequent creation of other such courts in the United States and other countries (e.g., Canada in 1908; England in 1908; France in 1912; Russia in 1918; Poland in 1919; Japan in 1922; and Germany in 1923), juveniles were tried in the same courts as adults.

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