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youthful offenders

n. under-age people accused of crimes who are processed through a juvenile court and juvenile detention or prison facilities. In most states a youth-ful offender is under the age of 18. Often a court has the latitude to try some young defendants as adults, particularly for repeat offenders who appear to be beyond rehabilitation and are involved in major crimes like murder, manslaughter, armed robbery, rape or aggravated assault. A youthful offender has certain advantages: he/she will be kept in a juvenile prison instead of a penitentiary, is more likely than an adult to get probation, can only receive a maximum prison sentence not to exceed a 25th birthday or some other limitation and cannot get the death penalty.

See also: juvenile delinquent 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications