During the 18th century the legislations that protect children did not exist. Children were tried and sentenced for crimes they committed and were even sometimes put to death. In the 19th century people reformed for a change in the way that juveniles were treated within the criminal justice system. The reformers who wanted this change believed that children were not fully developed and could not be held accountable for many of the things they did. They believed that children had to be separated from adults within the corrections system and held in specialized facilities (Krygier, 3). Juvenile courts were established during the 20th century (Krygier, 3). Juvenile delinquency is an issue that is taken very seriously by the criminal justice system. A juvenile delinquent is any person above the age of 7 and below 16 who commits an offense that would be a crime if committed by an adult. The juvenile justice system operates under the philosophy of parens patriae. They work for the best interest of the child. A series of very important U.S. Supreme court cases have taken place, which have completely changed the juvenile justice system. There are many reasons why juvenile delinquency occurs and there are also many things that the government tries to do to prevent juvenile delinquency. Juvenile delinquency is more common for males than it is for females. .
There are many landmark cases that have changed the juvenile justice system. Some of these cases are Kent v. United States, In re Gault, In re Winship, McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, Breed v. Jones, Thompson v. Oklahoma, Sanford v. Kentucky, and Wilkins v. Missouri. In Kent v. United States the Supreme Court decided that juveniles should be given the same constitutional rights as adults (Krygier, 3). The Supreme Court ruled that juveniles were entitled to the rights granted to adults in the court case In re Gault. These rights were given to juveniles by the 4th, 5th, 6th,8th, and 14th Amendments.