Girls And Delinquency: Different From Boys?

2358 words - 9 pages

To date the study of juvenile delinquency has focused mainly on the conduct disorders, pathways, and aggression in males while relatively little to no attention has been paid to the females who have committed and continue to commit delinquent acts (Hoyt & Scherer, 1998). The majority of juvenile arrests are male, which is one of the primary reasons that a great deal of today's research has focused on the male population (Zahn, Hawkins, Chiancone, & Whitworth, 2008). Do females follow the same pathways as males in delinquency, do they suffer the same conduct disorders, and is their aggression caused by the same factors as males?In the 1990's a major surge of girls' arrests brought the subject of female juvenile delinquents and the crimes that they commit to the country's attention. Girls' arrest rates for some crimes increased faster than those for boys (Zahn, Hawkins, Chiancone, & Whitworth, 2008). Delinquency and youth violence have been growing by epidemic proportions over the years. In fact from 1983 to 1993, juvenile manslaughter and murder arrests actually leaped by 128% and from 1986 to 1995, violent crime arrests among juveniles rose 67%. This escalation in violent crimes by adolescents has raised a number of great concerns for and about the number of juveniles victimized by youth violence and has fueled anxieties about the future crime wave as these juvenile delinquents mature into adult criminals (Hoyt & Scherer, 1998).Juvenile delinquency can and does become a pathway which leads to adult offending. The juvenile justice field is struggling to understand what the best way to respond to the needs of these girls that are entering the system are (Zahn, Hawkins, Chiancone, & Whitworth, 2008). One of the most consistent findings in criminology is that for almost every offense that females engage in, there is far less crime and delinquency than there is for males. Although females make up a smaller overall portion of juvenile arrests than males, the two genders' arrest patterns have diverged somewhat over the past decade (Zahn & et, Violence by Teenage Girls: Trends and Context, 2008).Females comprise almost one-third (29%) of all juvenile arrests, about one-third (34%) of arrests for property crimes, and less than one-fifth (18%) of the arrests for violent crimes. However, even though it is the serious and violent crimes that capture the attention of the media and the public, the majority of juvenile arrests are for far less serious offenses, like status offenses, which accounted for three-quarters (76%) off all juvenile arrests (Zahn & et, Violence by Teenage Girls: Trends and Context, 2008). Despite the mounting concern for female offending there is very little known about female delinquency. Social scientists have excluded females from their past studies of juvenile delinquency, apparently suspecting that delinquency among females is a subset or minor variation of delinquency among males. What literature that...

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