The Increase in Female Juvenile Offenders

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For many, the term juvenile delinquent likely conjures up images of groups of young men standing on street corners, wearing baggy clothes, and boasting defiant attitudes. However, some may be surprised to learn that the face of the juvenile delinquent is swiftly changing. While boys are responsible for the majority of juvenile crime overall, the number of juvenile females involved with the justice system has been steadily increasing over the past three decades (Gross 84). Of greatest concern is the context of the crimes being committed by juvenile girls, as arrest rates have increased most in the area of violent offenses. In response to this emerging trend, juvenile justice professionals are increasingly advocating for gender specific intervention and rehabilitation models to deter further delinquency involvement. This effort is rooted in investigating the risk factors for criminal behavior among adolescent females, and the compound effect multiple risk factors may illicit. Between 1991 and 2000, arrest rates for girls increased more than arrests for boys, and by 2004 girls accounted for 30 percent of all juveniles taken into custody. Researchers have yet to establish if this trend is representative of a quantifiable increase in female juvenile crime, or if social attitudes and law enforcement response to girl’s delinquency have influenced the increase (Zahn, “Causes” 1-3). Juvenile crime overall has been declining since reaching its peak in the late 1990’s, yet the rates of girls have not experienced the same rate of decline when compared to boys. The context of the crimes being committed by adolescent girls has been most dramatically impacted in the areas of both aggravated and simple assault. While boys still r... ... middle of paper ... .... Web. 29 Mar. 2012. Peterman, Dan. Personal Interview. 19 March 2012. Zahn, Margaret et al. “Girls Study Group: Causes and Correlates of Girls’ Delinquency.” National Criminal Justice Reference Service. US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. April 2010. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. . Zahn, Margaret et al. “Girls Study Group: Violence By Teenage Girls: Trends and Context.” National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. May 2008.Web. 29 Mar. 2012. . Zavlek, Shelley, and Rebecca Maniglia. "Developing Correctional Facilities for Female Juvenile Offenders: Design and Programming Considerations." Corrections Today 69.4 (August 2007): 58-63. ProQuest Criminal Justice Periodicals Index. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.

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