Juvenile mug shots cannot be found online because juvenile records are not available to the general public, according to the Reporters Committee. A juvenile record is available only to the defendant, his parents or guardians, law enforcement and to individuals directly involved in the specific case the records pertain to.
Open criminal-record laws contain exemptions for juvenile offenders in most states, notes the Reporters Committee. Legal actions to open juvenile records are rarely successful or even heard in courts because the laws prohibiting disclosure are specific and difficult to overcome. Juvenile records are kept confidential in order to prevent young offenders from being stigmatized in society for the rest of their lives.
In most states, persons under the age of 18 are considered too young to be held criminally culpable, according to Cornell University Law School. The main goal of juvenile courts is rehabilitate rather than punish offenders. State statutes that create juvenile courts are considered extensions of the state's responsibility to ensure the safety, well-being and maintenance of the children within its borders.
Most state juvenile justice laws are patterned after the 1972 federal Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Act, Cornell University Law School notes. The act provides federal financial assistance for state juvenile crime prevention and offender rehabilitation.