The Road to Delinquency: Familial Discord as a Precursor to Juvenile Female Offending

Leslie N. Schaefer, University of Florida

In today's rapidly evolving and growing criminal justice and corrections spheres, new insights are needed for specialized populations, especially women and girls. Past criminological research has concentrated largely on the delinquency patterns and needs of male offenders. Today, theoretical and practical concerns are shifting toward women and girls and their unique position in the criminological discussion. Despite the apparent increasing "feminization" of the justice system, decisions for programming and policy are still being made based on the male model of delinquency and crime. This research is based on Owen and Bloom's profile assesssment of the needs and charactaristics of incarcerated young women in the California Youth Authority. Using OLS regression, it examines the relationships between certain measures of familial discord and an earlier onset of criminal offending. By analyzing girls' pathways to delinquent behavior, perhaps policy makers and practitioners can more adequately address their unique needs, both before and during incarceration.

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Updated 05/20/2006