Remember doing something mischievous or wrong when you were a kid and getting the label "delinquent" slapped on you ? Did you ever wonder what it meant ? That is what my topic for today is . . . juvenile delinquency. In this report I will: define juvenile delinquency, give the extent of juvenile delinquency, give some suggestions on what causes juvenile delinquency, and what is being done in various communities to deal with this growing problem. The legal term juvenile delinquent was established so that young lawbreakers could avoid the disgrace of being classified in legal records as criminals. Juvenile delinquency laws were designed to provide treatment, rather than punishment, for juvenile offenders. Young delinquents usually are sent to juvenile courts, where the main aim is to rehabilitate offenders, rather than to punish them. But the term juvenile delinquency itself has come to imply disgrace in today's society. A youngster can be labeled a delinquent for breaking any one of a number of laws, ranging from robbery to running away from home. But an action for which a youth may be declared a delinquent in one community may not be against the law in another community. In some communities, the police ignore many children who are accused of minor delinquencies or refer them directly to their parents. But in other communities, the police may refer such children to a juvenile court, where they may officially be declared delinquents. Crime statistics, though they are often incomplete and may be misleading, do give an indication of the extent of the delinquency problem. The FBI reports that during the early 1980's, about two-fifths of all arrests in the United States for burglary and arson were of persons under the age of 18. Juveniles also accounted for about one-third of all arrests for larceny. During any year, about 4 % of all children between the ages of 10 and 18 appear in a juvenile court. The percentage of youngsters in...
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