Glossary: J

Judicial Emancipation

A court order that assigns an individual under age 18 with some of the rights of an adult. In Pennsylvania, to gain judicial emancipation in most counties, a minor must show that he is living on his own and can financially support himself.

Juvenile Court

A court of law that has jurisdiction over cases involving children under a specific age, usually 18. Juvenile courts (sometimes referred to as family courts) generally preside over both delinquency and dependency proceedings.

Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP)

An prison sentence that comprises a person’s entire natural life, without the possibility of release, for an offense committed before the age of 18. The United States Supreme Court has declared JLWOP to be an unconstitutional punishment for crimes for youth convicted of non-homicide offenses.

Juvenile Record

Records kept by the juvenile court with information and documents relevant to a youth’s delinquency charges, including information from the police, the probation department, a youth’s school, and health care and treatment providers. Depending on the jurisdiction, juvenile records may be sealed and/or expunged to prevent them from hindering employment or higher education opportunities.