Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Juvenile Justice

Did You Know?

Over the course of 6 months, approximately 10% of juvenile detainees thought about suicide, and 11% had attempted suicide.


Youth under the age of 18 who are accused of committing a delinquent or criminal act are typically processed through a juvenile justice system1. While similar to that of the adult criminal justice system in many ways—processes include arrest, detainment, petitions, hearings, adjudications, dispositions, placement, probation, and reentry—the juvenile justice process operates according to the premise that youth are fundamentally different from adults, both in terms of level of responsibility and potential for rehabilitation. The primary goals of the juvenile justice system, in addition to maintaining public safety, are skill development, habilitation, rehabilitation, addressing treatment needs, and successful reintegration of youth into the community.

Learn more about the juvenile justice process.

1States, however, have the right to set lower age thresholds for processing youth through the adult system. In addition, some states automatically process any individual, regardless of age, through the adult criminal justice system for some serious offenses.

Updated: Monday, August 25, 2014


Youth Voices

Feature Articles
Correctional Education Guidance Package Correctional Education Guidance Package

A new guidance package was released by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder in December to help ensure that incarcerated youth get the quality education they deserve.

Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach

The report, “Reforming Juvenile Justice: A Developmental Approach,” highlights evidence that indicates that during adolescence the brain is still immature; adolescents are less able to regulate their behavior, they are more sensitive to external influences (such as peer pressure and immediate reward), and they show less ability to make judgments and decisions that require future orientation. Thus, accountability practices should not be carried over from criminal courts (which are designed for adult offenders) to juvenile courts.

Gang Prevention Gang Prevention: An Overview of Research and Programs

The recent Juvenile Justice bulletin, published by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs (OJJDP), presents a compilation of current research on gangs, including data on the state of gang problems in the United States today, why youth join gangs...

Keeping youth in school and out of the justice system Keeping youth in school and out of the justice system

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the launch of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, a collaborative project between the Departments of Justice and Education that will address the "school-to-prison pipeline" and the disciplinary policies and practices that can push students out of school and into the justice system.

CrimeSolutions.gov CrimeSolutions.gov Website Launched

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today launched www.crimesolutions.gov. This new website is a central, credible resource to inform practitioners and policymakers about what works in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services.