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NCJ Number: 196615 Find in a Library
Title: Tenuous Borders: Girls Transferred to Adult Court
Journal: Criminology  Volume:40  Issue:3  Dated:August 2002  Pages:481-517
Author(s): Emily Gaarder; Joanne Belknap
Date Published: August 2002
Page Count: 37
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Guided by feminist theory, this article examines girls who are incarcerated in a women’s prison in the Midwest.
Abstract: This article uses feminist theory to “give voice” to 22 girls who were tried and convicted as adults and who are incarcerated in a women’s prison in the Midwest. After discussing recent trends in increasingly treating juvenile offenders as adults, the authors review literature explaining the pathways delinquent girls take to criminal activity. Following a discussion of the ways that gender, race, and socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation affects the way that girls are processed in various stages of the juvenile court system, the authors describe their interviews with 22 young women in a medium-security prison in the Midwest, between July 1998 and August 1999. Questioning whether the life histories of the girls, all labeled as adults by the justice system, would be similar, the authors found recurring themes of violence and victimization, racism and economic marginality, negative experiences in school, structural dislocation, and alcohol and drug use. After comparing the life histories of the girls in this study with incarcerated women discussed in other studies and with other girls within the juvenile justice system, the authors argue that the girls in this study were not allowed to succeed in the juvenile justice system before being sentenced to adult prison and that courts tended to blur the boundaries between the girls’ victimization and offending. The authors conclude that the frequent practice of transferring juvenile girls to adult criminal courts needs to be re-examined. References
Main Term(s): Feminism; Violent women
Index Term(s): Adolescent females; Female crime patterns; Female inmates; Violent females
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