Girls in Trouble in Georgia: Who They Are, What They Need, and How the Systems Set Up to Help Them Often Set Them Up to Fail

Sandra S. Stone, State University of West Georgia

The media, politicians and what has become a "common knowledge" promote the image of female juvenile delinquents as more numerous and more violent than in the past. While arrest and court data support the fact that the number of girls being processed through the juvenile justice system has increased in recent years, the numbers alone fail to present an accurate picture of these girls and their lives. This paper will provide a comprehensive profile of female juvenile delinquents in Georgia, including offense trends over the past 25 years and changes in the systems set up to respond. Information will be gathered from statistical files, case files, visits to programs, interviews with staff from the Department of Juvenile Justice and other programs that serve girls, and from the girls themselves. The question of whether the problem is due to more "bad apples" (girls) or inadequate baskets (support and response systems) will be addressed. Girls' special needs and suggestions for more effective interventions will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006