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NCJ Number: 47984 Find in a Library
Title: CRIME OF PRECOCIOUS SEXUALITY - FEMALE JUVENILE DELINQUENCY IN THE PROGRESSIVE ERA
Journal: HARVARD EDUCATIONAL REVIEW  Volume:48  Issue:1  Dated:(FEBRUARY 1978)  Pages:65-74
Author(s): S SCHLOSSMAN; S WALLACH
Corporate Author: Harvard Educational Review
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: Harvard Educational Review
Cambridge, MA 02138
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE THEORY THAT DISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT OF FEMALE DELINQUENTS IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY WAS A RESULT OF RACIAL PREJUDICE, NEW THEORIES OF ADOLESCENCE, AND PROGRESSIVE-ERA MOVEMENTS TO PURIFY SOCIETY IS EXPLORED.
Abstract: THIS HISTORICAL INQUIRY INTO SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FEMALE JUVENILE DELINQUENTS BEGINS WITH A REVIEW OF THE CRIME LITERATURE IN 1865. THAT REVIEW SUGGESTS THAT GIRL DELINQUENTS HAVE BEEN LARGELY IGNORED BECAUSE THEY ARE USUALLY ACCUSED OF VICTIMLESS CRIMES AND BECAUSE DISCRIMINATORY CORRECTIONAL PRACTICES HAVE BEEN BASED ON THE TRADITIONAL STEREOTYPES THAT WOMEN ARE THE WEAKER AND MORE DEPENDENT SEX. FEMALE DELINQUENTS RECEIVED DISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT IN THE PROGRESSIVE PERIOD BECAUSE OF EXISTING RACIAL PREJUDICES. IMMIGRANTS OR DAUGHTERS OF IMMIGRANTS WERE THOUGHT TO BE MORE PREDISPOSED TOWARD IMMORAL CONDUCT THAN THE DAUGHTERS OF NATIVE-BORN PARENTS. NINETEENTH CENTURY CRIME LITERATURE TREATED THE GIRL OFFENDER MAINLY AS A FOOTNOTE TO THE PROBLEM OF BOY DELINQUENCY. PUNITIVE TREATMENT FOR FEMALE OFFENDERS WAS INFLUENCED BY NOTIONS OF 'GOOD' GIRLS AND BEHAVIOR AND CONVENTIONAL IDEALS OF DOMESTICITY. THIS IS ILLUSTRATED IN AN OVERVIEW OF CASES IN JUVENILE COURT RECORDS IN CHICAGO, ILL.; SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.; MILWAUKEE, WIS.; AND NEW HAVEN, CONN. THE NATURE OF DISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT IS ANALYZED IN LIGHT OF THE REHABILITATIVE GOALS AND METHODS OF FEMALE REFORMATORIES OF THE DAY. JUVENILE COURTS SESSIONS OFTEN HAD KAFKAESQUE QUALITIES IN THAT ONE COULD NEVER BE SURE THAT A CASE WOULD BE DECIDED ON THE BASIS OF ACCUSATIONS OR ON THE QUALITY OF EVIDENCE. A GIRL WAS ALMOST CERTAINLY SENT TO A REFORMATORY IF SHE OR HER PARENTS WERE NOT PARTICULARLY CONTRITE ABOUT SEXUAL INDISCRETIONS. REHABILITATIVE PROGRAMS IN FEMALE REFORMATORIES WERE NOMINAL; ADOLESCENT GIRLS WERE CONSIDERED LESS MALLEABLE THAN THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. FEMALE JUVENILE JUSTICE IN THE PROGRESSIVE ERA WAS PART OF A CULTURAL REACTION THAT ATTEMPTED TO REVITALIZE VICTORIAN MORALITY AND TO PUNISH PROSTITUTES OR SEXUALLY PRECOCIOUS GIRLS WHO DID NOT CONFORM. ALTHOUGH ATTITUDES TOWARD THE SOCIAL ROLE AND SEXUAL DESIRES OF WOMEN HAVE CHANGED, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT CORRECTIONAL POLICIES MAY STILL SHARE SOME OF THE ASSUMPTIONS COMMON IN THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES. NOTES AND A GUIDE TO PRIMARY-SOURCE MATERIALS ON THE SUBJECT ARE PROVIDED. (JSP)
Index Term(s): Female juvenile delinquents; History of juvenile justice; Sex discrimination
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=47984

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