Female Juvenile Crime

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Traditionally, there has been little research on or interest in the impact of female crime in modern society. In addition, juvenile crime rates are on the rise, which combine for a void of research or information on female juvenile offenders. In general, crime rates for women offenders have risen since the 1990's. Increasing numbers of young women are also offending at higher rates. In a 1996 U.S. Department of Justice Report, the number of arrests of young women had doubled between 1989 and 1993. Twenty percent of all juvenile arrests were committed by girls, an increase of 87 percent. However, according to The National Study of Delinquency Prevention in Schools, males are far more likely to admit to criminal involvement than are females. For example, 12 percent of males and 4 percent of females reported carrying a hidden weapon other than a pocketknife in the past year (Wilson, p.150). There are several theories for this rise in crime proposed by modern feminists, including that the introduction of women into traditional male roles prompted women to commit increasingly dangerous and violent crimes. However, this paper will rely on Meda Chesney-Lind's theories from The Female Offender.

First, Chesney-Lind points out that research on female offenders in general is lacking, and that victimization plays a key role in the offending of women. "…Responses must address a world that has been unfair to women and especially those of color and poverty." (The Female Offender). She also stresses that therapy and rehabilitation programming should be gender specific. Chesney-Lind believes that women are faced with special issues, including the prevalence of abuse that female offenders endure. The American Correctional Association found that A) 61.2 percent of female inmates were physically abused B) 50 percent were physically abused 11 times or more C) 54.3 were sexually abused, and D) 33 percent were sexually abused 11 times or more. This environment creates a...
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