Glossary of Terms

Terms Used In Pennsylvania's Juvenile Justice System

Below is a list of common terms used in Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system which may be used regarding your child.
Accountability The responsibility a child has for repairing the harm caused by the crime that they committed.
Adjudication Hearing
A hearing in juvenile Court where the District Attorney/Prosecutor, as a representative of the Commonwealth, presents their case to
prove that a child committed the offense he/she has been charged with.
Adjudication of Delinquency
When a child is found by the Court to have broken the law and is in need of treatment, supervision or rehabilitation.
Taking a child’s case to a higher Court to review the trial Court’s decision.
Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)
The approach that believes justice is best served when the community, the victim and the offender (child who commits an offense) receive balanced attention.
Bench Warrant
A Court order allowing the police or a juvenile probation officer to physically take a child into custody and bring the child before the judge.
Community Protection Keeping the community safe from harm.
Community Service Volunteer work that a child does to benefit the community and to repair harm she/he has caused.
Competency Development Teaching skills that allow youth to be productive members of the community.
Court Order A document signed by a judge, directing somebody to do something. Anything that is written in the order must be abided by.
Detention Center A locked facility where children are temporarily housed.
Disposition Hearing
If the judge finds a child guilty of committing a crime, a disposition hearing is held to decide what services the child will be Court-ordered to
complete (such as probation supervision, community service hours, counseling, and/or commitment to a residential treatment facility).
Diversion Program
A program that diverts children from going to Court.
Expungement The process of legally destroying criminal records.
Felony A crime, typically one involving violence, regarded as more serious than a misdemeanor.
A criminal offense that is less serious than a felony.
Financial compensation that may be ordered by the court to compensate a victim for their losses and to repair the harm caused. Review Hearing – A Court hearing that is held to review a child’s progress.
Consequences that are imposed on children when they break the rules of probation. These consequences may include community service, electronic monitoring, increased probation supervision and/or curfew restrictions.
Subpoena A Court order requiring a person to appear in Court at a certain date and time.
Victim Impact Statement A written form that a victim has a right to complete and
have presented to the Court explaining the emotional and financial impact a child’s
crime has had on them.
Violation of Probation When a child under probation either commits
an illegal act or violates other conditions or rules laid out by the Court the Court can respond with sanctions.
Youth Level of Service Inventory (YLS) A research-based assessment tool used by the probation office to objectively determine a child’s risk of reoffending and the level of needed intervention.