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NCJ Number: 199592 Find in a Library
Title: Pregnant Girls and Moms in Detention
Journal: Justice Policy Journal: Analyzing Criminal and Juvenile Justice Issues and Policies  Volume:1  Issue:2  Dated:Spring 2003  Pages:3-20
Author(s): Sue Mahan
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 18
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This qualitative study examined the self-concepts of pregnant girls and moms in detention, addressing the special needs of girls within the juvenile justice system.
Abstract: According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, females accounted for 29 percent of juvenile arrests for property crime in 1998 compared to 19 percent in 1991. Females now make up the fastest growing segment of the juvenile justice system. Although crimes committed by females are generally less serious than those committed by males, the get tough approach shows females being subjected to harsher treatment with the juvenile justice system with few sufficient alternatives. In addition, birth rates for adolescent mothers remain higher in the United States than in other industrialized nations, with teen pregnancy reported to be significantly higher among girls with a history of childhood maltreatment. The above information provides the backdrop to this study that took place in District Twelve of the Juvenile Justice System in Florida and employed three types of data to examine the self-concepts of pregnant girls and moms in detention: group discussions, essays, and interviews. Discussion occurred utilizing four focus groups and were held over a 6-month period from May to October of 2000. Written data in the form of essays were collected from detainees who participated in weekly parenting classes over the same period. Ten interviews with detainees found to be pregnant provided a closer look at the self-concept of pregnant girls and moms in detention. This is a qualitative evaluation of sensitizing theoretical concepts describing patterns, supporting quantitative findings, and providing a useful perspective. Through conceptual categories, the study focused the research on features of self-concept, such as self-image, self-control, self-esteem, role, and identity. Highlights of the results showed: (1) girls in detention were more prepared for childbirth and child-rearing than boys; (2) girls were more likely to have a definite plan for the future which included their children; (3) the mental picture of themselves as a mother was one which was enhanced and amplified by relations with others in detention; (4) rates of pregnancy in general may be decreasing; (5) girls had a positive outlook toward pregnancy and being pregnant; (6) relations between pregnant girls and the fathers of their babies were strained at best; and (7) there was a small number of pregnant girls in detention, but they were significant because of their impact on others. References
Main Term(s): Female juvenile delinquents
Index Term(s): Abused women; Adolescent attitudes; Female offenders; Females; Juvenile detention; Juvenile detention reform; Pregnant offenders; Pregnant women; Self concept
Note: Downloaded on March 20, 2003.
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