Juvenile delinquency, term applied to violations of the law by those legally considered under the age of majority. The maximum age for juveniles varies from place to place. Most countries deal with young offenders in special juvenile courts. Many sociologists contend that criminal activities are only one expression of a disturbed life pattern, of which transiency, violence, poverty, and the failure of family relationships are also typical. The high rate of illegal activity in adolescence probably reflects the general disturbances common to this age group. Action taken by the juvenile courts is theoretically correctional rather than punitive.