chapter  1
Introduction—The Defi nition and Extent of Delinquency
Pages 24

INTRODUCTION Discussions of the juvenile justice system cannot proceed without a clear understanding of the behaviors that it is tasked to address. The juvenile court and the juvenile justice system are relatively recent inventions, tracing their history back to the late 1800s. Prior to that time, youths who broke

the law were handled in the same system and in the same ways as adults. “Delinquency” was born in the late 1800s when crime and misbehavior by youths were redefi ned as separate and distinct from adult offenses and new mechanisms of social control were developed to address problem children.