Juvenile Delinquency- Chapter 1

ego identity

According to Erik Erikson, ego identity is formed when a person deveopls a firm sense of who he is and what he stands for.

role diffusion

According to Erik Erikson, role diffusion occurs when youths spread themselves too thin, experience personal uncertainty, and place themselves at the mercy of leaders who promise to give them a sense of identity they cannot develop for themselves.

at-risk youth

Youn people who are extremely vulneralbe to the negative consequences of school failure, substance abuse, and early sexuality.

juvenile delinquency

Participation in illegal behavior by a minor who falls under a statutory age limit.

chronic delinquent offenders (also known as chronic juvenile offenders, chronic delinquents, or chronic recidivists)

Youth who have been arrested four or more times during their minority and perpetrate a striking majority of serious criminal acts. This small group, known as the "chronic 6 percent," is believed to engage in a significant portion of all delinquent behavior; these youths do not age out of crime but continue their criminal behavior into adulthood.

aging-out process (also known as desistance or spontaneous remission)

The tendency for youths to reduce the frequency of their offending behavior as they age; aging-out is thougt to occur among all groups of offenders.


The process by which juvenile offenders persist in their delinquent careers rather than aging out of crime.

juvenile justice system

The segment of the justice system, including law enforcement officers, the courts, and correctional agencies, designed to treat youthful offenders.

paternalistic family

A family style wherein the father is the final authority on all family matters and exercises complete control over his wife and children.


During the Middle Ages, the right of firstborn sons to inherit lands and titles, leaving their brothers the option of a military or religious career.


The practice during the Middle Ages of completely wrapping newborns in long bandage-like clothes in order to restrict their movements and make them easier to manage.

poor laws

English statutes that allowed the courts to appoint overseers over destitute and neglected children, allowing placement of these children as servants in the homes of the affluent.

chancery courts

Court proceedings created in fifteenth century England to oversee the lives of highborn minors who were orphaned or otherwise could not care for themselves.

parens patriae

Power of the state to act on behalf of the child and provide care and protection equivalent to that of a parent.

child savers

Ninteenth-century reformers who developed programs for troubled youth and influened legislation creating the juvenile justice system; today some critics view them as being more concerned with contol of the poor than with their welfare.

best interest of the chld

A philosophical viewpoint that encourages the state to take control of wayward children and provide care, custody, and treatment to remedy delinquent behavior.

waiver (also known as bindover or removal)

Transferring legal jurisdiction over the most serious and experienced juvenile offenders to the adult court for criminal prosecution.

status offense

Conduct that is illegal only because the child is under age.

wayward minors

Early legal designation of youths who violate the law because of their minority status; now referrred to as status offenders.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

Branch of the U.S. Justice Department charged with shaping national juvenile justice policy through disbusement of federal aid and research funds.