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Labeling, 2015

Spectrum of labels

Victim Child welfare perspective
Offender Public safety perspective
  • In need of aid, assistance, or care

  • In need of services

  • In need of supervision

  • Unruly

  • Status offender

In Massachusetts, status offense cases are classified as Children Requiring Assistance and include running away from home, repeatedly disobeying the lawful commands of a parent or guardian, habitual truancy, and failing to obey school regulations. 

Age boundaries, 2016

  • Status offense jurisdiction

    6 through 17 years old

  • Delinquency jurisdiction

    7 through 17 years old

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In Massachusetts, a “child requiring assistance” must be at least age 6. The highest age a child’s conduct can be considered a status offense is 17. Non-delinquent behaviors include: repeated running away, disobedience at home or school, and habitual truancy. Youth at least age 7 who violate city ordinances, town by-laws, or other child-only offenses are labeled ‘delinquent.’ Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 119 § 21; § 52

Reported data

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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