Report on the Special Needs of Incarcerated Girls

Susan E. Eastman, NYS Div. of Criminal Justice Services
Ingrid Bennett, NY DCJS OJSA

ABSTRACT
Studies suggest that female juvenile delinquents and offenders are exposed to gender specific risk factors, including early victimization, sexual abuse, substance abuse and academic problems. Yet, there appears to be a lack of well-designed empirical studies that examine risk factors considered relevant for girls held in youth facilities. Furthermore, evidence suggests that institutional youth programs are being developed and implemented without taking risk factors, specific to the female gender into consideration. This report presents an overview of a three year study, conducted by NYS-DCJS that will follow a cohort of juvenile delinquents from entry to OCFS residential facilities through their residential stays, releases to aftercare, and during periods of varying lengths following release. The study will determine whether risk factors that are hypothesized to be especially relevant to the design of interventions for delinquent girls do, in fact, influence case outcomes to a greater extent for girls than for boys. A primary emphasis in this preliminary paper will be to discuss the development and administrative protocols designed to elicit information about early childhood trauma.

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Updated 05/20/2006