When the Shoe Doesn't Fit: Misguided and Counterproductive Policies and Practices for Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

Sandra S. Stone, State University of West Georgia
Celeste M. Norris, State University of West Georgia

ABSTRACT
Because girls have traditionally comprised such a small proportion of youths in the juvenile justice system, policies and practices have been focused primarily on boys' offenses, behaviors and needs. Although the number of girls in the system has been increasing over the past decade, policies and practices have not been revised to take their particular issues into account. A recent study of girls under state supervision in georgia revealed that not only were many policies and practices misguided, some were, in fact, counterproductive, often contriubuting to an increase in the girls' problems. This paper presents examples of some of these policies and practices, along with a discussion of how they are not only inappropriate, but may, in fact, do more harm than good. Recommendations are then offered for improvements that can be made based on research and knowledge about girls' particular issues and needs.

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Updated 05/20/2006