youthful offender

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A youthful offender is an adolescent who committed a crime, who may not be tried in an adult court; instead will be tried in a juvenile court. The youthful offenders may take some responsibility for the unlawful behavior and may not be sentenced as an adult criminal. In some states, like California, suspects under 18 years old cannot be tried in an adult court except if the suspects committed specific violent crimes, like murder, kidnapping with bodily harm, rape with force, etc., then their cases could be tried in an adult court. Youthful offenders may participate in correctional programs as a replacement or supplement to criminal punishment. Some programs created for youthful offenders are: substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, or training to learn skills in specific fields.

See also: juvenile delinquent, juvenile justice

[Last updated in April of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]