Girls In The Juvenile Justice System

1311 words - 6 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

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 females. We need to provide them with the right programs and skills not only to stop them from committing another crime but to also prepare them with goals for success and towards a better future.
Research by American Bar Association and the National Bar Association (2001) “demonstrates that girls in the delinquency system have histories of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, having family problems, suffer from physical and mental disorders, have experienced academic failure and succumb more easily to the pressures of domination by old males” (p.4) Girls also are developmentally different from boys’ and girls’ involvement in delinquency is often connected to conflicts in physical, sexual abuse, troubled family and social relationships as well as school problems. Also, girls suffer from higher rates of abuse they are more likely than boys to run away from home. In addition, breaking curfew, theft and prostitution which may be strategies for girls who experience abuse at home constitute a substantial percentage of actions for which girls are arrested.
In the juvenile justice system there are likely several consistent causes of the inconsistency in the rates of mental health disorders between both genders. For instance, a number of studies by National Mental Health Association (2003) “indicate that females are more likely than males to develop post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following exposure to traumatic events. The study also indicates that within the juvenile justice system, girls are more likely than boys to suffer from PTSD and other internalizing emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation” (p.2). Given the high rates of mental health disorders of female offenders, it is imperative that services be offered. However, girls with conduct disorders are far less likely than their male colleagues to find, receive, or complete treatment.
Girls in the juvenile justice system are at a huge disadvantage because most of the assessment programs and treatment models used with youth in the justice system were designed for use with male offenders and have not been...

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