Juvenile Delinquent Defined
Police officials often adopt a general opinion about juvenile delinquents and, through their work, discover they are youngsters who are impulsive, immature first-time offenders who very likely will get a break. Many police officers with extensive juvenile experience believe that juvenile delinquents are those involved in a series of antisocial acts who do so as a result of personality disorder and will usually be repeat offenders and the most likely to be processed into the criminal justice system.
Their academic record begins to frame their school concept and a juvenile delinquent to them is someone who is not working to capacity. School counselors assess the behavioral angle and a juvenile delinquent to them is someone who is either unable or unwilling to respond to school rules, teacher demands, and who sometimes creates altercations.
For those who work within special education, a juvenile delinquent is a handicapped or disabled person, either mentally or physically or both, and the school system puts the struggling student into situations where they are unable to compete which makes them hostile or frustrated, for example, earning them the designation learning disabled.
The family notion of a juvenile delinquent child as perceived from the viewpoint of parents and siblings is a child who is “out of control" or incorrigible; he or she does not obey parents, guardians, or the demands and reciprocal exchange of home life in general.
The official juvenile delinquent legal viewpoint is that this is an underage offender who violates the law and, as a result, the courts can exercise paternalism. This court paternalism is rooted in history and stems from a legal concept called parens patriae, meaning, “parent of the country." The philosophy behind it is that parents are merely custodians of the child and it is up to the state, that is to say, the juvenile and family courts to uphold the ultimate responsibility for its minors and minor offenders.
Social services sees a child who has been petitioned through the system for breaking the law and he or she is either a JINS—a juvenile in need of supervision—or the situation may present as FINS—families in need of supervision.
In other words, “juvenile delinquency" is an obscure term and means different things to different states, communities and individuals. Your interpretation is developed by the understanding of these principles.