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The Case of Unruly Juvenile DB2 Attachment


Juvenile court is much different from adult court and often times can be misunderstood in the ultimate purpose. Unlike the adult court, juvenile court has two opposing purposes, to rehabilitate the juvenile and to protect the community. Historically, juvenile courts would treat juveniles either too harshly or too leniently, where the interests and wellbeing of the juvenile were not of great consideration. Today, the goal is to rehabilitate and help turn juveniles, whether delinquent or undisciplined into productive members of society. As in the example, where a 15-year old male repeatedly refuses to obey his parents’ orders to be home before 10:00 in the evening and is in need of an intervention to break the cycle of unhealthy behavior. The following paragraphs will address the case of the young man, who refuses to obey the rules of the home as well as discuss whether this case would fall under juvenile delinquency or be classified as an undisciplined juvenile case. Additionally, a Christian world view as it applies to the themes above will be addressed.

Prior to early 1970s, juvenile delinquency included acts on the part of the juvenile, which were not violations of the law but rather violations of the rules of home. “Legal definitions of delinquency have become more standardized and by law requires a violation or attempted violation of the criminal code” (Cox et al., 2018, p. 162). The goal of the Uniform Juvenile Court Act was to standardize policies countrywide. Unlike in the adult criminal justice system, juvenile justice system concentrates on the juvenile’s treatment and rehabilitation. The language and processes are even different of those in the adult system; for example, instead of an arrest the juvenile would be taken into custody, and where the petition only alleges that a delinquent act has occurred versus a complaint charging someone with a crime. In the case of the 15-year old disobeying the curfew, it would not be considered a delinquent act because it is only the rules of the home that he is breaking and not the criminal code.

Violations of the juvenile law often refer to the status offenses, which are categorized as offenses dependent on the offender’s age, such as curfew violations, and running away from home. “Excluded from acts constituting delinquency are vague activities, such as incorrigibility, ungovernability, habitual disobedience, and other status offenses, which are legal offenses applicable only to children and not to adults” (Cox et al., 2018, p. 161). As in the case of the 15-year old repeatedly disobeying the 10 o’clock curfew, it would fall under habitual disobedience. If the parents are not able to correct the actions and have tried everything in their power to, it becomes incorrigibility and ungovernability on the part of the juvenile and will require an intervention. “According to Section 32 of the Uniform Juvenile Court Act, unruly children cannot be placed in a correctional institution” (Cox et al., 2018, p. 163). Therefore, the 15-year old would not be taken into custody, but rather evaluated and possibly placed in a program to correct the behavior.

If the behavior is habitual, as in a recurring pattern of disobedience and it is at a point where parents cannot correct it, an outside intervention could be useful. “The flagrant repetitive nature of these behaviors often serves as the basis for filing a petition and the justification for pursuing treatment” (Cox et al., 2018, p. 166). The undisciplined petition can be located on the North Carolina Judicial Branch and submitted through proper channels for review. Although, most of the time this type of petition will be filled out by the parents, if law enforcement officers are aware of the patterns and maybe had to bring the juvenile home several times previously, they too can fill it out. Interventions and services that are normally available include individual or mixed counseling, parent/family skill building, assessment, runaway shelter care, and others.

Once in contact with the family, social services review the whole dynamic of the family and what is causing the juvenile to act a certain way. There could have potentially been a traumatic event or lack of repercussions the first time the juvenile disobeyed the rules. The Bible teaches us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (New King James Version, 1982/2002, Proverbs 22:6). The parent could have gotten a job with a schedule where they are unable to monitor when the 15-year old comes home, which allowed him to slip in unnoticed to begin with. Furthermore, the Bible states, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (New King James Version, 1982/2002, Proverbs 13:24). Discipline and holding the children liable for their actions by their parents plays an important role in the way they handle future situations. If it is a supervision issue, the parent needs to arrange for proper supervision and rely on the Bible.

Juvenile courts have a challenging job when it comes to handling the many various situations. “It is important to remember that although the juvenile court operates under the ‘treatment and rehabilitation’ concept, the court is also charged with protecting the community against unlawful and violent conduct” (Cox et al., 2018, p. 162). Juvenile courts may have common law roots but have developed a criminal aspect to it to protect the public. In creation of the criminal aspect, the concept of due process had to be instilled in the system to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a delinquent act had occurred. Although certain undisciplined acts seem minor, such as curfew violation in this case, this behavior can be predelinquent in nature and is an early sight of delinquency. Which is why the courts have to get involved and implement an intervention to protect the juvenile and everyone around him.


Cox, S., Allen, J., Hanser, R., Conrad, J. (2018). Juvenile Justice A Guide to Theory, Policy, and Practice. SAGE Publications, Inc. ISBN: 978-1506-349-008

Holy Bible. (1982/2002). Holy Bible (New King James Version). Scofield Study System, Scofield, C. I., Oxford University Press, NY.

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