Juvenile delinquency is a general term referring to crimes committed by minors or juvenile delinquents. The definition of a minor may vary from state to state and country to country, but a minor is generally considered an individual under a certain age, usually 18 or 21 years old.
A juvenile delinquent is treated differently than the usual criminal offender. Because the criminal is a minor, he or she is not punished in the same manner an adult criminal is due to his or her emotional and mental development. A minor guilty of juvenile delinquency is usually placed in a juvenile detention center rather than an actual prison. This is because the state wishes to prevent criminals from influencing juvenile offenders negatively and to protect the welfare of such young offenders from an unsecure environment.
A juvenile delinquent who is found to be guilty is usually sentenced to a form of rehabilitation within the confines of a juvenile detention center rather than punishment. When placed in the custody of a juvenile detention center, a juvenile delinquent is given access to education, counseling, and other programs that can facilitate his or her rehabilitation.
Once a minor who has had a past of juvenile delinquency becomes an adult, he or she has the option to seal his or her criminal records. However, these records may be unsealed when he or she commits a crime once he or she becomes an adult. However, certain exceptions have made it possible for a juvenile delinquent to be tried as an actual criminal if the crime committed is of a grave and severe matter. In that case, his or her records will not be expunged.