Juvenile Justice Glossary

Abused children – children who are victims of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse or neglect

Adjudication – the court trial in juvenile court to determine if the allegations listed in the petition are true

Admission – allegations in the petition are true; guilty plea

Aftercare – the special Probation Department or CYA program designated to supervise minors during the balance of his/her time on probation

Allegation – legal charge, reason the children should be a ward/dependent of the juvenile court

Alternative sentencing – an opportunity for the judge to provide a rehabilitation program rather than incarceration

Child Advocate – a volunteer, court-appointed special advocate

Confidentiality – privacy of juvenile proceedings; security of information not for public knowledge

Conflict attorney – court-appointed private counsel, also called panel attorney, chosen from a list known as the “panel” to represent youths with a conflict-of-interest with other parties

Court Officer – court-appointed person with special skills; e.g. court mediator, court officer as social worker’s representative in court

Custody – secure custody is a place with locked entrances and exits; non-secure custody is without physical restraints

CYA – California Youth Authority, the state agency which operates the state-run institutions and camps

Delinquency Court – juvenile criminal court

Delinquent – a juvenile apprehended as a result of misdemeanor or felony criminal conduct, law violator; in adult court, a criminal

Denial – allegation/s in the petition are not true; not-guilty plea

Dependency Court – juvenile protection court for victims of abuse, abandonment, or neglect

Dependent of the court – a minor determined to be under the jurisdiction of the court

Detention – the holding of a person picked up and in custody by law enforcement; in dependency court, the child is removed from home for protection; in delinquency court, the child is held pending court action

Detention hearing – the first hearing in the juvenile court process

Determinate Sentence – the specific period of confinement of a youth sent to an incarceration facility is dependent on the crime

Disposition – sentence

Diversion – the use of a non-justice, alternative program for selected first-time or minor offenders; a program directing the individual to participate in a work or educational plan in lieu of juvenile court proceedings

EMP – electronic monitoring program; an active or passive ankle-bracelet tracking system

Finding – court decision

Fitness hearing – process to determine whether a serious offender is fit for trial in juvenile court or for remand to adult court

Guardian ad Litem – volunteer appointed by the court to speak for the child or legally incompetent person

Hearing – court appearance with a judge/judicial officer; juvenile trial

Incarceration – imprisonment; confinement to a locked, state facility

Indeterminate sentence – an unspecified time for minors to be held until deemed rehabilitated

Intervention – program for working with families to provide early services to change behavior and keep the child out of the justice system

JAI Number – Juvenile Automated Index number; the statewide, computer index number assigned to a juvenile when they first enter the justice system, similar to CII for adults; data input includes arrests, pending cases, convictions, conditions of parole, etc.

JJC – Juvenile Justice Commission; each county has this judicially-appointed, state-mandated commission to oversee county juvenile justice functions

Judicial officer – the judicial hearing officer who is not a judge, frequently called a referee or commissioner

Jurisdiction hearing – procedure to determine the court’s authority over the minor

Legal guardianship – person, other than parents, given responsibility for the care of a child

Parens Patriae – the concept for juvenile court, the right of the state to act in the place of the parent

Parole – conditional release from incarceration after serving part of sentence, generally under supervision of a state parole officer

Permanency planning hearing – in dependency court, the final placement step to develop a long- term plan for a child who will not be returned to his/her family

Petition – legal document submitted to juvenile court containing the allegations/s; in adult court, the complaint

Privatization – the transfer of control from a public agency to the private sector

Probation – sentence releasing the minor into the community without imprisonment under supervision; a test period for good behavior

Probation Department – County department responsible for assessment, informal probation supervision, referral of court cases, management of juvenile hall and camps, and supervision of rehabilitation programs for probationers.

Remand – juvenile sent to superior court to be treated as an adult

Recidivism – pattern of repeated criminal behavior

SARB – School Attendance Review Board

Status offender – juvenile who has committed an act which is not criminal behavior in an adult but is an offense for a juvenile: runaways, truants, curfew violators, incorrigibles, youths beyond the control of parents and/or school personnel

Termination of parental rights – legal ending of a parent’s rights to a child, including custody, education, religious training, etc.

Ward of the court – minor under the legal guardianship of the state

WIC – Welfare and Institutions Code, the portion of state law dealing with juvenile law

300’s – abused or neglected children; victims, not offenders

601’s – status offenders

602’s – criminal offenders

654’s – informal probationers, diverted for minor offense includes a written, contractual agreement with minor

707B’s – remands; determined to be “unfit” for juvenile court

YOPB – Youthful Offender Parole Board; politically-appointed state juvenile parole agency

Anon. 1996. “Appendix C: Glossary Of Frequently Used Terms in Juvenile Justice.” League of Women Voters of California. Retrieved (http://archive.lwvc.org/jj/glossary.htm).

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