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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 221365 Find in a Library
Title: Gender and Justice in the Progressive Era: An Investigation of Saint Louis Juvenile Court Cases, 1909-1912
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:24  Issue:4  Dated:December 2007  Pages:657-678
Author(s): Charlotte Lyn Bright; Scott H. Decker; Andrea M. Burch
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 22
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The purpose of this study was to examine juvenile court records from St. Louis, MO during the Progressive Era from a feminist standpoint, testing whether gender identities were constructed differently within the social control network of the juvenile court.
Abstract: In the early history of the St. Louis juvenile court, findings indicate that girls were subject to harsher forms of social control than boys, despite less serious charges, and that sexual behavior was described and treated much differently in girls’ records than in boys’. The importance of understanding juvenile court history cannot be overstated. Questions about differential treatment based on gender and race are extremely timely, and the early juvenile court may be part of the foundation on which current system practices are based. While there is not enough information to state, unequivocally, that oppression of girls around their sexual behavior has constantly been a practice of the juvenile court since its inception, this study uncovered evidence that this double-standard appeared in two time periods, nearly 100 years apart. Feminist scholars have emphasized the long-standing legacy of the court’s attempt to control girls’ violations of gender images, particularly sexual behavior and status offenses. This is recognized during the Progressive Era which is credited with creating a unique environment in which girls’ sexuality was of concern. This time period saw a rise in opportunities for adolescent girls’ sexual experimentation as they moved from domestic employment to work in offices and factories. This study tested hypotheses about the relationships between gender and charge, prehearing detention, and disposition using St. Louis, MO juvenile court records for the years 1909-1912. The connection between gender and sexually based charges in the early history of the St. Louis juvenile court is more deeply probed. Tables, figure, references
Main Term(s): Juvenile courts
Index Term(s): Female juvenile delinquents; Feminism; Feminist jurisprudence; Gender issues; Juvenile court trends; Juvenile crime control; Juvenile offenders; Male female offender comparisons; Missouri; Sexual behavior; Social control
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