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Issues for Girls
While the rate of criminal behavior by boys has decreased in the last decade, this is not the case for girls. In 2003 approximately 17 percent of all female arrestees were of juveniles under age 18 (Crime in the United States, 2009, Uniform Crime Reporting). This statistic represents an increase of 150 percent since the period between 1980-90.
Girls enter the juvenile justice system by different pathways than boys. Most girls who enter the justice system do so as a result of crimes such as chronic running away, (59 percent) truancy, prostitution (69 percent) and drug use. Often they themselves have been victimized by sexual abuse and trauma. Girls usually experience sexual victimization before they commit their first offense. More than 75 percent of girls in corrections have mental health issues (nearly three times as high as boys). Relationships are key to their problems as well as a key to their survival.
More than half of girls in corrections settings feel no connection to school, and their data show a growing rate of school dropout.
- Exceptionality: Girls With Mental Health Needs in the Juvenile Justice System: Challenges and Inequities Confronting a Vulnerable Population
Mary Magee Quinn, Jeffrey M. Poirier & Lili Garfinkel