Juvenile Justice Law and Legal Definition

Juvenile justice is the area of criminal law applicable to persons not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts, In most states, juvenile justice law is applicable to those under 18 years old. Juvenile law is mainly governed by the juvenile justice codes of states. The main goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Juvenile justice is administered through a juvenile or family court, however, but juvenile court does not have jurisdiction in cases in which minors are charged as adults. Where parental neglect or loss of control is a problem, the juvenile court may seek out foster homes for the juvenile, treating the child as a ward of the court.

The Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act defines juvenile delinquency (any act that is othewise a crime, but is committed by someone under 18 years of age) and sets forth rules by which state laws must comply with regard to juvenile court procedures and punishments. The purpose of the act is to assist states and local communities with funding and standards to be used in providing community based preventative services to youths in danger of becoming delinquent, training individuals in occupations providing such services, and providing technical assistance in the field.