Glossary of Juvenile Justice Terms

Terms in bold type are defined in the glossary.

Age of juvenile jurisdiction: The ages at which a youth is included in the juvenile justice system. Currently, children under the age of 18 are under jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

Commitment: Placement of a child in the custody (for delinquent children) or guardianship (for neglected, dependent, or uncared for children) of the DCF by an order of the court.

Delinquency referral: A complaint received in Juvenile Court alleging that a child has violated any federal or state law, or municipal or local ordinance, other than an ordinance regulating behavior of a child related to FWSN, or any order of the Superior Court or condition of probation ordered by the court.

Erasure: A procedure in both FWSN and delinquency referrals, whereby a juvenile can get the complaint removed from his record if the court fails to get an admission of responsibility from the juvenile, or fails to get an adjudication or conviction.

Disposition: The juvenile justice system’s version of a court sentence (a judge decides the disposition at a special hearing).

Diversion: An action that keeps a child or youth from entering the court system. Police officers may decide not to arrest a juvenile for an offense, and instead the youth is referred to JRBs, YSBs or JPOs in order to assess the youth’s needs and provide appropriate services. Diverted cases are usually handled informally (non-judicially), though a JPO may recommend judicial handling based on the JPO’s assessment of the offense and the youth’s past history.

FWSN: Families with Service Needs – families with a child under the age of 16 who has committed a status offense, e.g., behaviors that are only “illegal” due to the age of the child (e.g., running away from home without just cause, being beyond the control of parents or guardians, engaging in “immoral or indecent conduct,” truancy from school or continuously defiant of school regulations, or 13-15 years old and engaging in sexual intercourse with a person within 2 years of his/her age).

JAG: Juvenile Assessment Generic – A risk/needs assessment instrument that identifies and addresses an offender’s “criminogenic needs,” measures an offender’s “protective factors,” and arrives at an overall score that assesses the offender’s likelihood of recidivating.

JLWOP: Juvenile Life Without Parole – the sentencing of juveniles charged as adults to a term of their life with no chance of parole. In 2015, Connecticut passed legislation ending JLWOP, in compliance with U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

JPO: Juvenile Probation Officer – a professional CSSD employee whose duties include preparing studies for the court and supervising juveniles under the court's jurisdiction.

Manson Youth Institution: A Department of Corrections facility. It houses male offenders ranging in age from 14 to 21, including boys who are tried and sentenced as adults.

Mediation: A process in which people in a conflict situation meet with a trained impartial person – a mediator. The mediator helps both sides listen to each other and, without deciding who is right or wrong, assists the participants in reaching their own agreement.

Non-judicial supervision: A disposition that, with the agreement of all parties, allows the assigned JPO (rather than a judge) to supervise the juvenile (outside of the court process) for a period up to 180 days.

Probation: The disposition in a delinquency case where a juvenile is convicted and placed under the supervision of a JPO for a specific period of time and subject to specific conditions, as determined by the assigned JPO.

Prosecutor: Also called the State’s Attorney, an attorney representing the state’s interests who charges the child and tries the child’s case in court, opposite the child’s attorney.

Recidivating / Recidivism: Relapsing into criminal or delinquent behavior.

SJO: Serious Juvenile Offenses – a violation of any one of several specific grievous criminal actions by a child.

Status offense: An offense that would not be a crime if committed by an adult (e.g., truancy, running away from home, being out of control of parents, defying school rules). In Connecticut, youth who commit status offenses are defined as a FWSN or YIC.

Truant: A child or youth with four unexcused absences from school in one month or 10 in a school year.

YIC: Youth in Crisis – any person 17 years of age who, within the last two years, has without just cause run away from the parental home or other properly authorized and lawful place of abode, is beyond the control of parents, guardian or other custodian, or has been truant.

Youthful Offender: Youths who have not committed a Class A felony or a delineated sex offense and have not previously been convicted of a felony or found to be a SJO. The prosecutor can transfer youthful offenders to the regular criminal docket if they are charged with a felony.

Juvenile Justice Acts and Programs

CJTS: Connecticut Juvenile Training School – Secure residential facility for adjudicated delinquent boys, opened August 28, 2001, following closure of Long Lane School. CJTS has been a highly controversial and debated $57-million dollar facility, currently undergoing major reform. Please see the Alliance website for a detailed report on CJTS history and reform effort.

DMC: Disproportionate Minority Contact – DMC occurs when the number of minority youth in the juvenile justice system is higher than what would be expected based on their percentage of the population. (If African-American youth make up 12% of the youth population, they should make up approximately 12% of the population in the juvenile justice system).

FFT: Functional Family Therapy – a short term (8 to 12 one-hour sessions over three months), family-based prevention and intervention program for high risk youth ages 11 to 18.

FSC: Family Support Center – Provides voluntary, comprehensive services to the children and families with the most high need FWSN cases. The centers offer 24-hour crisis intervention, case management, family mediation, educational advocacy, psycho-educational support, cognitive behavioral support and one-on-one therapy.

JJDPA: Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act – First enacted in1974, it provides the major source of federal funding to improve states' juvenile justice systems. The JJDPA was developed with a broad consensus that children should not have contact with adults in jails and other institutional settings and that status offenders* should not be placed in secure detention. In order to receive federal funds, states are required to maintain these core protections for children and youth.

JJPIC: Juvenile Jurisdiction Planning and Implementation Council – Created by the legislature in 2006, this committee was responsible for determining what would be required of the juvenile justice and other systems to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18. The Committee submitted its final report in February 2007.

JJPOCC: Juvenile Jurisdiction Policy and Oversight Coordinating Council – Created by the legislature in 2007, the committee is responsible for planning for and overseeing the implementation of policies and practices related to the change in the age of jurisdiction as of January 1, 2010.

JRB: Juvenile Review Board – Diversionary and prevention programs designed to help local police departments deal with the least serious juvenile offenders and keep them out of the juvenile justice system. JRBs are usually composed of representatives of local youth service agencies, police departments, and the juvenile court, and are tailored to meet the needs of the specific community.

MST: Multisystemic Therapy – a research-validated, community-based treatment for youth ages 12 to 17 with serious behavior disorders who are at high risk for out-of-home placement. MST therapists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and focus on the youth, family, school, peers and community supports in treating the juvenile over an average four-month period (approximately 60 hours of face-to-face contact).

YSB: Youth Service Bureau – mandated by Connecticut General Statue Section 10-19M, a YSB is an agency operated directly by one or more municipalities and is designed for planning, evaluation, coordination, and implementation of a network of resources and opportunities for children, youth, and their families. Many YSBs in Connecticut also operate JRBs.

Juvenile Justice agency acronyms

C4YJ: Campaign for Youth Justice – a national campaign dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating children under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system.

CSSD: Connecticut Court Support Services Division of the Connecticut Judicial Branch – CSSD is responsible for the juvenile justice system up to the point when a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent. CSSD runs juvenile probation, juvenile detention and many contracted services and programs.

DCF: Department of Children and Families – The state agency responsible for the welfare of children in Connecticut. Its biggest responsibility is protective services for abused or neglected children. DCF is responsible for youth in the juvenile justice system once they have been adjudicated delinquent. It runs CJTS and other residential programs as well as juvenile parole and re-entry programming.

DCF/FWSN liaison: A professional DCF employee assigned to a juvenile court location to assist the court and probation department in the handling of certain FWSN cases.

DOC:Department of Correction – State agency responsible for 18 adult jails and prisons in Connecticut, including the Manson Youth Institution and the York Correctional Institution.

DSS: Department of Social Services – State agency responsible for Medicaid and HUSKY, which provides health insurance for uninsured children and youth under the age of 19, among others.

JJAC: Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee – Established in accordance with the JJDPA of 1974, it consists of a Governor-appointed committee of volunteers charged with advising the Governor and the OPM who oversee of federal juvenile justice funding to Connecticut in order to prevent delinquency and improve Connecticut's juvenile justice system. The JJAC funds and initiates programs that provide young people with positive role models and opportunities to participate in recreational, cultural, and skill-development activities.

NJJN: National Juvenile Justice Network – A national organization that enhances the ability of statewide juvenile justice coalitions to advocate for fair, equitable and developmentally appropriate adjudication and treatment for all youth and families involved in the juvenile justice system.

OJJDP: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention – division within the U.S. Department of Justice that collects data, funds and publishes research and provides grants and technical support services in the fields of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention. This agency oversees the implementation of the JJDPA.

OPM: Office of Policy and Management – Connecticut’s budget office that distributes state and federal grants around the state. The OPM serves as a staff agency reporting directly to the Governor, providing the information and analysis required to formulate public policy for the state, and assisting state agencies and municipalities in implementing policy decisions on the Governor’s behalf.