The Possible Cause of Juvenile Crime

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The Latin word, ‘delinquent,’ connotes dereliction of duty and gave rise to the term ‘delinquency,’ which is now generally recognized as offenses against lawful authority, or to the violation of criminal law by a child below the age of eighteen (Concept and Causes of Juvenile Delinquency). Prior to the mid-nineteenth century, children under the age of seven were not held to be responsible for criminal acts, children under the age of fourteen were held to be incapable of criminal intent and those above fourteen were subject to the same legal proceedings as adults The Juvenile Offender’s Act of 1847 allowed children under fourteen to be tried speedily and outside public scrutiny by two magistrates. The Reformatory and Industrial Schools Act (1854 – 57) introduced specific juvenile institutions. It was acknowledged in the 1816 Report that juvenile crimes were the result of the improper conduct of parents, want of education, wants of suitable employment, public gambling, the severity of the criminal code, defective state of the police and the poor system of prison discipline. Juvenile offenders in the nineteenth century were punished by whipping, fines stay in houses of correction, transportation, and even death. Over the years, it has come to be acknowledged that juveniles differ from adults and that juvenile crimes should be approached in different ways. This led to the establishment of separate juvenile courts, detention centers, laws and procedures and, in general, the separation of juveniles from adults in all stages of the criminal justice system. The Education Act of 1876 established Industrial day schools and truant schools. In April 1905, the first juvenile court was established in Birmingham (Shore).At present, a juvenile is defined by law as anyone below the age of eighteen and juvenile courts are specialized magistrate courts that handle charges against youth in the age group of ten – eighteen. A child is held responsible for criminal behavior from the age of ten, under the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998. Juvenile crimes denote various offenses committed by children below the age of eighteen.