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NCJ Number: 193228 Find in a Library
Title: Girls in Detention: The Results of Focus Group Discussion Interviews and Official Records Review
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:18  Issue:1  Dated:February 2002  Pages:57-73
Author(s): Suman Kakar; Marie-Luise Friedemann; Linda Peck
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 17
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article presents a study exploring delinquent behavior and crimes committed by female juvenile delinquents and examining the context in which girls grow and develop.
Abstract: The study used official records of female delinquents detained at one of the regional detention centers in South Florida and results of focus group discussions in three encounter group sessions. Female juveniles between 12 and 18 years of age comprised the population. Study results revealed that most girls in the sample vividly described violence in their home, which suggested that the family violence may play a major role in precipitating the girls’ involvement in delinquency. Chaotic family environment and academic failure also were pervasive in most of these girls’ lives. Most were poor, of minority status, and had histories of childhood victimization and alcohol and substance abuse. Literature suggests that family factors play a significant role in influencing the girls’ criminal behaviors. There is some evidence that dysfunctional living environments and exposure to childhood abuse can be significant variables in the development of conduct disorders and increased propensity toward commission of violent crime, but family problems have been only minimally researched. Professionals need to focus much more intensely on the role of family and its influence on girls. Most treatment programs neglect the family perspective. The development of prevention programs aimed at reducing the crime commission needs to be based on an understanding of the complex relationship of emotional, social, and family factors. This study has shown that official records provide only a limited part of the picture and are maybe not a true reflection of the situation. The problems of girls require the development and implementation of gender-specific services and programs that are designed to meet the unique needs of girls and their families. 3 tables, 41 references
Main Term(s): Family histories; Family offenses; Female juvenile delinquents
Index Term(s): Adolescent females; Domestic assault; Female offenders; Female status offenders; Home environment; Parent-Child Relations; Violent females
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