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The Issue of Confidentiality Related to Juvenile Delinquency

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Recognizing the critical element of the recovery of young people through the preservation of their privacy, the public are now interested to seek more information about juvenile crime and violence, state authorities, school officials, the public and victims. A growing amount of States are satisfying this need to allow citizens and perpetrators to access young people’s trials, to increase access to young people’s files, to print and photograph youth perpetrators and to change legislation on extermination of young people’s records. The introduction of protective measures to protect the privacy of young offenders can be seen as a result of the juvenile courts being separated from criminal justice systems.

In the book “Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice and Law” by Siegel, L. & B. C. Welsh, It stated that at the beginning of the nineteenth century, delinquent, neglected and runaway children in the united states were treated the same as adult criminal offenders. Also children in England, when these children were convicted of crimes they received harsh sentences similar to adults, the adult criminal code also applied to the children and no juvenile court existed. In Chapter 13 in the section “Development of Juvenile Institutions” it stated that Child Savers influenced state and the local government to create special institutions which are called “Reform Schools“, the first one to open was in Westborough, Massachusetts in 1848 then in Rochester, New York in 1894, later on programs stated to develop and began in Ohio in 1850 and in Maine, Rhode Island then in Michigan in 1906.

According to the article “Juvenile Proceedings and Records” it states that “When the first juvenile court was created in Chicago, IL, in 1899, it was designed to ‘spare juveniles from harsh proceedings of adult court, punitive and unseemly conditions of adult jails and penitentiaries, and the stigma of being branded ‘criminal, ” according to an article by Tamryn J. Etten and Robert F. Petrone in the Juvenile and Family Court Journal (Juvenile Proceedings and records)”. The concept of maintaining the Juvenile trials and the documents confidential was to create the “New” Youth JUstification Management system. Having Less Punitive and therapeutic than the adult scheme, also as a result of introduction of the protection of policies for the privacy of youthful offenders. With the youth crime becoming more widespread and ever more violent, the government politicians have been under pressure to pass legislations that underline the youth responsibility for violent crimes, The focus on rehabilitating and protecting minors from the government exposure was not difficult and according to a latest study of NCJJ. Also the article “ Juvenile Proceedings and Records“ stated that the documents for young people usually focus on the interactions between young people and the different state, local service providers, and the culture of young people, it has also stated that “social history records are often included into the information about a youth’s family, academic records also any type of history of abuse or neglect as well as problems with drug and alcohol use “, meaning Social histories are often included in youth family information, academic documents also contain any kind of history of problems. Legal documents contain information of any youth offenders of their court proceedings and it contains any information that can be used as evidence, as it is stated “On the other hand legal records contain information relating to the court proceedings involving these juvenile and also it contains other information that can be used as evidence (Juvenile Proceedings and Records)”, those papers include petitions, complaints, motions, court conclusions and also court instructions.

As well various federal and state regulations may discourage information exchange between and amongst others that may affect these children and maintain legal and social records on a private basis. The “National Association of Counsel for Children” says that the procedure and files of juvenile court instances have been secret in most countries, meaning that most nations have the proceedings and the records of juvenile confidential, also Many of which may have suggested that the paths or documents are open to at least to some extent and some have advocated that they are open to confidentiality. However, it was mentioned according to the article “that opening the juvenile delinquency record and/or proceedings is a major issue in pending federal legislation”, meaning the opening of youth crime files was a major issue in pursuant to the federal legislation and opening of child protection record or proceedings in several states. The NACC Board of Directors has examined the “Pros and Cons” of Confidentiality in children’s privacy, Under the “Child Protection Case” it stated “Opening would deter children from reporting abuse, and parents from seeking help; Opening would cause process-trauma to child victims/witnesses; opening would deter parents from admitting abuse/neglect (a key to the treatment process)”.

The advantages and disadvantages of confidentiality in the juvenile documents, it explains why it is being shielded because it can be seen as a failure of the system and because it allows the system issues to go unaddressed and can influence their futures, educations, employment status and can also bring attention to the family.


  1. Juvenile Proceedings and Records. (n. d.). Retrieved from https://www. ojjdp. gov/pubs/reform/ch2_i. html
  2. National Association of Counsel for Children. (n. d.). Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  3. Policy Statement: Confidentiality of juvenile Court Proceedings and Records
  4. Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2017). Chapter 13: Juvenile justice: Then and Now. In Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice, and Law (13th ed., p. 490).
  5. Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. C. (2017). Chapter 13: Juvenile justice Then and Now. In Juvenile Delinquency: Theory, Practice, and Law (13th ed., p. 493)

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