Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the number and nature of latent classes of delinquency that exist among male juvenile offenders incarcerated in prisons in Pakistan. Design/methodology/approach – The sample consisted of 415 young male offenders incarcerated in prisons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Pakistan. Latent class analysis was employed to determine the number and nature of delinquency latent classes. Multinomial logistic regression was used to estimate the associations between latent classes and the three factors of criminal social identity (cognitive centrality, in-group affect, and in-group ties) whilst controlling for criminal friends, period of confinement, addiction, age, and location. Findings – The best fitting latent class model was a three-class solution. The classes were labelled: “minor delinquents” (the baseline/normative class; Class 3), “major delinquents” (Class 1), and “moderate delinquents” (Class 2). Class membership was predicted by differing external variables. Specifically, Class 1 membership was related to having more criminal friends; while Class 2 membership was related to lower levels of in-group affect and higher levels of in-group ties. Practical implications – Findings are discussed in relation to refining current taxonomic arguments regarding the structure of delinquency and implications for prevention of juvenile delinquent behaviour. Originality/value – First, most previous studies have focused on school children, whereas, this paper focuses on incarcerated juvenile offenders. Second, this research includes delinquents from Pakistan, whereas, most previous research has examined delinquent behaviour in western cultures.