Assessing the Special Needs of Adolescent Girls in Educational Treatment Programs

Heather Locklear, International College
Damon D. Camp, Georgia State University
Kale M. Kritch, Associated Marine Institute

In the last decade arrests for adolescent girls increased at ahigher rate than boys in most categories and the number of adolescent girls being placed in commitment programs has grown dramatically. While some scholars have identified pathways to offending that are unique to girls and women entering the criminal justice system, few have analyzed treatment needs. This research effort attempts to rectify this problem by studying possible gender-specific needs of adolescent female offenders in treatment programs. Here, adolescent girls and boys in commitment programs under the control of a private institute were studied. The data collected revealed significant reported differences in several categories. Findings indicated that girls reported they run-away from home significantly more often than boys, and experience more sexual and physical victimization. In contrast, boys reported significant differences in drinking and drug use than the patterns of behavior reported by girls. Both sexes reported having problems with anger although girls reported the problem at higher rates than boys. Girls expressed more interest in anger management classes and counseling. The findings support the need for a gender specific treatment approach in juvenile justice.

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Updated 05/20/2006