What is Juvenile Delinquency


Juvenile delinquency is a blanket term, which obscures rather than clarifies our understanding of human behavior. The psychiatrist and psychologist call them ”emotionally disturbed” while judiciary has one term of them -“delinquents.”  Juvenile delinquency is also called delinquency. When a person reaches adulthood, antisocial and criminal behavior done by him can be said as a crime. Thus, we can say that juvenile delinquency is the child and adolescent version of the crime. Delinquency usually involves a combination of social and legal factors.


Juvenile delinquency is an antisocial behavior, in which a child or adolescent purposefully and repeatedly does illegal activities. It is involvement of child or adolescent who is between the age of 10 and 17 in the illegal activity or behavior.

Forms of Juvenile Delinquency

Various forms are responsible for Juvenile delinquency. Some are as follows:

  • Disobedience
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Cruelty
  • Running away from home and school
  • Sexual problems
  • Drug and alcohol intake with dependence
  • Gambling


Some associated factors are responsible for juvenile delinquency:

  • Age- Delinquency usually starts with the onset on puberty. It occurs as early as 12 years and increases after that. Aggressive and antisocial behavior is seen between 4 and 6 years of age in boys.
  • Sex- The number of boys are very large as compared to girls. Schwartz (1949) in New York said that 93% of delinquents were boys.
  • Intelligence- Delinquency has been associated with both superior intelligence as well as borderline mental retardation.
  • Family background- Delinquents generally came from poor families where the number of children was large and parents were unable to attend to the individual needs of children. Also single child shows less delinquency than middle or youngest one.

Measurement of Juvenile Delinquency

Measurement are indeed essential for the following reasons:

  • For confirming the diagnosis.
  • For understanding the dynamics of problem.
  • For judicial reasons.
  • For planning the management.
  • For treatment of delinquents.

Diagnostic Procedures

The diagnostic procedure should be carried out carefully and accordingly the following regime may be recommended:

  • Interview- The interview should preferably consist of a structured procedure to avoid failure to elicit essential data.
  • Neurological examination- It should b carried out in every delinquent to detect any evidence of abnormality.
  • Mental status examination (MSE)- It is carefully evaluate the delinquent by systematic mental status examination, so we can obtain the information about the present mental state and abnormalities that may prevail.
  • Psychological test- Th personality which is totality of an individual’s physical, emotional and mental make-up is evaluated in case of delinquents by suitable personality test such as Rorschas’s test etc.

Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency

Prevention of juvenile delinquency are divided into primary, secondary, tertiary preventions which are as follows:

  • Primary Prevention
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Tertiary Prevention

Primary Prevention- In which extends to the removal of all factors which directly or indirectly cause delinquency.

Secondary Prevention- In which aims at prompt diagnosis and treatment of delinquency.

Tertiary Prevention- In which aims at rehabilitation of delinquents.

  • Effective family planning can be helpful. So that all children are wanted and useful.
  • An atmosphere of emotional and financial security should be there at home.
  • Proper physical care prevents delinquency.
  • The energy of adolescents should be channelized to prevet delinquency.
  • Improving the social environment, slum areas, busy markets places etc.

Management of Juvenile Delinquency

The management of juvenile delinquency described according to therapies:

  • Protective therapy: In which not only extends to custodial care, but also to parole.
  • Reformative therapy: In which to bring about certain changes in the personality and behavior of the delinquent.
  • Rehabilitative therapy: In which is very essential to assist the delinquent in his progress anfd give him a new way of living.
  • Drug therapy: The use of drug therapy is useful in case of aggressive behavior. Tranquilizers in adequate dose need to be given. Haloperidol can be given orally in dose of 1.5-10mg, three times a day. In case of severe aggression, injectable route can be used.

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