Juvenile delinquency encompasses two general types of behaviors, status and delinquent offenses.
Status offenses are behaviors that are considered inappropriate or unhealthy for children and adolescents, and the behaviors are proscribed because of the age of the offender.
The language and the spirit of the law were drawn from the biblical Book of Deuteronomy.
The Stubborn Child Law descended from the Puritans’ belief that unacknowledged social evils would bring the wrath of God down upon the entire colony.
Delinquent acts were viewed as affronts to God and God’s law, and as such, wrongdoers were treated in very punitive and vengeful ways.
American colonial society was similarly harsh toward children and the control of children’s behavior.Throughout society, there was a general notion that children were particularly susceptible to vice and moral violations.For instance, in 1641, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony passed the Stubborn Child Law, which stated that children who disobeyed their parents would be put to death.In this sense, juvenile delinquency is troubling because of the victimizations that are inflicted and the perceptual image of society as unable to adequately control and supervise young people.Third, as this research paper will explore, juvenile delinquency has different meanings depending on its severity and other factors.Second, juvenile delinquency is itself seen as an indicator of the general health and prosperity of a society.In neighborhoods with high levels of delinquency, the antisocial behavior is seen as part of a larger set of social problems.Delinquent offenses are violations of legal statutes that also apply to adults in the criminal justice system.Delinquent offenses include acts of violence against persons, such as murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated and simple assault, harassment, stalking, menacing, child abuse, and similar offenses.During the colonial era of the United States, for example, the conceptualization of juvenile delinquency was heavily influenced by religion.At this time, juvenile delinquency was viewed as not only a legal violation, but also a moral violation.