Gender, Culture, and Drugs: An Assessment of Juvenile Court Responses to Drug Use by Male and Female Adolescents

Hilary Smith, Arizona State University
Nancy Rodriguez, Arizona State University - West

A reading of girls' juvenile court social files points to the strong linkages among victimization, drug use, and offending. Consistent with research that addresses the unique dimensions of girls' delinquency, we propose toe xamine these connections through a systematic analysis of qualitative (i.e., psychological reports; probation officer assessments; commentary by and about parents, teachers, and youths) and quantitative (i.e., official court records) data from the Maricopa County (Phoenix, AZ) Juvenile Court. We will supplement these data with analysis of a matched sam0ple of boys' files. We are particularly interested in capturing how probation officers, psychologists, and other juvenile court staff differently perceive drug use by girls and boys, as well as their proposals for how best to respond to that drug use. We examine the court's recommendations and outcomes for treatment of drug use and explore what we call "court endorsed" drug use (e.g., court orders for youths to be on anti-depresssants as a means of curbinh marijuana and alcohol use).

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Updated 05/20/2006