Sociology, Department of


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Published in The Encyclopedia of Juvenile Delinquency and Justice, ed. Christopher J. Schreck (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018), pp. 470-474.


Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission.


A curfew is a regulation that prohibits members of a certain population, such as juveniles, from being in public during a specified time. The primary purpose of a curfew is social control. Juvenile curfews generally prohibit minors, persons under the age of 17 or 18, from being in public spaces at night. The form of the regulations and their requirements vary by time, place, and age. However, many regulations are based on the Dallas ordinance, which prohibits juveniles under the age of 17 from being on the street between 11 :00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekdays and 12:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekends (Qutb v. Straus, 1993). The curfew regulations may allow for exceptions, including employment, emergencies, errands for parents, parents accompanying, and school or other legitimate activities (Adams, 2003). In the late 1990s, 70-80% of the largest communities in the United States had established juvenile curfews (The United States Conference of Mayors, 1997; Diviaio, 2007). Cities or towns enact most curfews; however, the State of Oregon has enacted a statewide juvenile curfew (Ghent, 1974).