In 1899, the nation’s first juvenile court for youth under the age of 16 was established in Chicago to provide rehabilitation rather than punishment. By 1925, following the Chicago model, all but two states had juvenile courts whose goals were to turn youth into productive citizens utilizing treatment that included warnings, probation, and training school confinement(Cox et al. 2014, p.2). Treatment lasted until the child was “cured” or turned 21. Although judges spoke with the offending children and decided upon the punishment, the lack of established rules and poor rehabilitation led to unfair treatment. In 1967 “ U.S. Supreme Court case of In re Gault held that juveniles were entitled to the same constitutional due process rights as adults, beginning a national reform in juvenile justice and the system was repaired to afford children many of the same rights that adults have in court” (Cox et al. 2014, p.4). Also, state legislatures passed laws to crack down on juvenile crime, as recently, states have attempted strike a balance in their approach to juvenile justice systems as research suggests that locking youth away in large, secure juvenile facilities is ineffective treatment towards different genders in which it doesn’t provide appropriate rehabilitation.
While girls have historically made up a small percentage of the juvenile justice population, offending by girls is on the rise. Girls are the fastest growing segment of despite the overall drop in juvenile crime. Over the past two decades we have witnessed an exponential rise in the number of girls in detention facilities, jails and prisons; likewise, arrest rates for girls in almost all offense categories have outstripped that of boys over this same time period. Not only is the overall number of juvenile delinquency cases for non-violent crimes on the rise, girls are accounting for a larger proportion of the delinquency pie than they did during the 1980s and while violent crime by juveniles has decreased overall since 1985, girls are committing more of those offenses than they did in 1985 according to (Cauffman, Grisso, & Sickmund, 2009).
However, from the latest data available, there has been an upward trend of
girls’ involvement in the justice system is continuing. There has been a growth in the number of arrests, cases processed, detention and subsequent long-term incarceration rates among females, but we still don’t have a clear understanding of the underlying causes since research about female offenders is generally lacking. Both boys and girls in the justice system are more aggressive, have more mental health problems, and experience more risk factors such as child abuse or poverty. There are, however, several surprising differences between male and female youth offenders that the juvenile justice systems. It needs to be taking into count in order to understand, educate, and prepare them with the right tools or skills to further rehabilitate our young...