Delinquent Girls: In Need of a Feminist Education for Rehabilitative Programming Public Deposited


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  • Although males have historically been the focus of the juvenile justice system, females now represent a quarter of juvenile arrests. Since the second wave of feminism in the 1970’s, critics of androcentric policies and programming for delinquents has shifted public attention to the history, experiences, and treatment of girls in the juvenile justice system. The recent attention granted to female juvenile delinquents has spurred the creation of rehabilitation programs that offer gender-specific programming. Elements of gender-specific programming involve individual therapy, gender-responsive staff members, community connections, and self-efficacy building. I recognize these guidelines are a step in the right direction towards a solution reducing recidivism rates for female delinquents, but argue that an additional educational element is needed for delinquent girls. Young girls in society and especially the juvenile justice system are disadvantages, underprivileged, and powerless in many ways. Integrating a women studies education will foster independence, enhanced self-esteem, promote understanding of larger social structures and inequalities that women face in the real world, and develop positive social support. This thesis contributes to the understanding of female delinquents, while arguing that a women studies educational element should be integrated into programs that aim to benefit delinquent girls.
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