Understanding and Responding to Girl’s Delinquency

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Understanding and Responding to Girl’s Delinquency Jennifer Hester Columbia College PSYC 260 September 27, 2009 Abstract Few studies have examined which girls become delinquent or why; and little is known about how well girls respond to interventions that have been traditionally designed with boys in mind. According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from 1991 to 2000, arrests of girls increased more, or decreased less, than those of boys for the same offenses. By 2004, girls accounted for 30 percent of juvenile arrests.
This apparent trend raises a number of questions, including whether it reflects an increase in girls’ delinquency or changes in society’s responses to girls’ behavior. Who is the delinquent girl, including the patterns and trends of female delinquency? Why is she delinquent? How and why do patterns of girls’ delinquency differ from boys? What is the juvenile justice system’s (and other systems’) response to girls’ delinquency? What are the life consequences for delinquent girls?
Understanding and Responding to Girl’s Delinquency A steady rise in crime among women since the 1980s spurred the research, which found a firm link between abuse and criminal behavior. An alarming 75 to 95 percent of girls (age 14 to 18) in the justice system are former victims of abuse. Such abuse often results in a very low sense of self-worth for young women. The majority of crimes young women commit, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), are simple assault and illegal substance abuse.
Young women are more likely than young men to commit the status offense of running away and to become involved in prostitution and commercialized vice. The NIJ reported that the average age a young woman becomes involved in prostitution is 14. Female Juvenile Delinquent Programs Why Are Girls’ Needs Different? These shared characteristics of at-risk adolescent females are identified as follows: • Age 13 to 18 years • History of victimization, especially physical, sexual, and emotional abuse • Academic failure, truancy, and dropout Repeated status offenses, especially running away • History of unhealthy dependent relationships, especially with older males • Mental health issues, including history of substance abuse • Over-representation among communities of color Need for physical safety and healthy physical development {text:list-item} Need for trust, love, respect, validation from caring adults to foster healthy emotional development and form positive relationships {text:list-item} Need for positive female role models to develop healthy identity as a woman {text:list-item}
Need for safety to explore sexuality at own pace for healthy sexual development {text:list-item} Need to belong, to feel competent and worthy {text:list-item} Girls get into trouble more quietly. In most cases, they were victims themselves before they became offenders (Girls Inc. , 1996). When girls are angry, frightened, or unloved, they are more likely to strike inward. They may hurt themselves by abusing drugs, prostituting their bodies, starving, or even mutilating themselves. Because girls in crisis are more likely to threaten their own well-being, they may not seem dangerous to society.
As a result, their needs have been overlooked and undertreated (Chesney-Lind, 1998). Girls in trouble have been the afterthought of a juvenile justice system designed to deal with boys. SAGE 1992. The SAGE Project, Inc was founded by Norma Hotaling, when she extended an experienced and compassionate hand to prostitutes who were on the streets or in jail. She connected with other survivors of sexual exploitation, and began building community alliances to foster her mission of raising awareness about and ending Commercial Sexual Exploitation of adults and children (CSE/CSEC). 1995.
The SAGE Project, Inc. was incorporated in November of 1995, and in March of that year, in a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, the Johns’ School” was launched with its first 13 participants. In October of 1995, we established our first program for girls in Juvenile Hall. As is the case with all startup organizations, the challenges we faced were daunting. We saw first-hand how the traditional structure of law enforcement and city government contained inherent biases towards criminalizing the victim” in cases of sexual exploitation.
We saw that even within the community of advocates, there were varying and sometimes conflicting opinions of what constituted right action, with some groups minimizing or denying harm within all areas of the sex industries, including child sexual exploitation. 1996. The people of SAGE instituted our first peer education and support program for women transitioning from jail into the community. Throughout that year, we worked tirelessly to plan and develop new programs, seeking out sources of funding and resources, and becoming a visible presence in both local and global politics and advocacy. 997. We created the Early Intervention Prostitution Program (EIPP) as a sister program to the First Offender Prostitution Program (FOPP). With support from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, we launched the Satellite Sexual Trauma Counseling Program. In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, Women and Children Family Services, and Manalive, we helped implement Sisters Working in Communities, a training and capacity-building program in four San Francisco neighborhoods. By the end of 1997, we had hired and trained six new prostitution survivors as SAGE staff. 1998.
By 1998, we had successfully assisted more than 800 women and girls in exiting the sex industries and transitioning into increased health and safety. In the summer, we opened the STAR Center, and in October we became the only San Francisco nonprofit to win the Innovations in Government Award from the Ford Foundation, Harvard’s JFK School of Government, and the Council for Excellence in Government. 1999. In August, we moved to our permanent home at 1275 Mission Street. The move allowed SAGE to expand, develop new programs, and create a sense of stability for both staff and clients.
At the end of 1999, we opened our on-site health clinic and low-cost Hepatitis C clinic. With the San Francisco Department of Public Health, we sponsored a comprehensive training conference on Hepatitis C. 2000, we moved from our startup phase and took on more long-range planning to ensure the sustainability of The SAGE Project, Inc. We received funding to help renovate our building for increased accessibility to people with disabilities, and began planning for an on-going Capital Campaign, to pay the mortgage on our building and plan for an eventual second site.
We also were the recipients- in October, 2000- of the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non Profit Innovation. And perhaps one of the important moments in 2000 was our first formal graduation ceremony, when nine women graduated from the STAR Center and celebrated increased health, well-being, and legal, wage-earning employment. 2001. In April, Norma Hotaling, SAGE’s founder and executive director, received the Oprah Winfrey Use Your Life” Award, and was featured on the Oprah show. Our 2nd annual Graduation Ceremony, held in June, included 23 graduates and participation from our staff, community partners, and supporters. 002. We formalized our Men’s and Transgender Programs, as well as our STOP program. By the end of 2002, The SAGE Project, Inc. employed more than 30 staff people, including peer counselors and educators, and several clinicians in a range of areas of specialization. 2003. We received a $1. 2 million congressional allocation with the support of Senator Diane Feinstein. The congressional earmark provides for expansion of The SAGE Project, Inc. , including organizational and leadership development, and helps to fund our efforts to assist organizations throughout the U.
S. and the world to replicate the successes of the SAGE Project. 2004. SAGE projects included hosting a STOP Conference, Practical Training Sessions: Providing Services to Victims of Trafficking in Persons”, in conjunction with the Protection Project of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and initiating major renovations of our building in San Francisco, and we expanded our office space to support a separate administrate office site. In cooperation with the City of San Francisco, we also began fundraising nd planning to open the Secure House for Girls, San Francisco’s first residential shelter for sexually exploited youth. And we launched an expanded and redesigned web site, along with other formal communication efforts, to share information and raise awareness about SAGE and CSE/CSEC issues with a broader audience. Since the early 1990s, Norma Hotaling and representatives of The SAGE Project, Inc. have presented, spoken and provided testimony at literally hundreds of national and international conferences, hearings, and through local, national and international media venues.
They have hosted dozens of domestic and international site visits from organizations and advocates concerned with issues of exploitation, addiction, and trauma or seeking to replicate our program. Throughout their organizational history, certain practices and beliefs have been consistent: to retain survivor-centered perspective and focus, build on the programs and services via strong community partnerships, and emphasize both individual healing and systemic change.
SAGE is very effective. The SAGE model has received recognition and validation for its effectiveness and efficiency, including: Innovations in American Government Award, from the Ford Foundation and JFK School of Government at Harvard; Peter F. Drucker Award for Innovation in Nonprofit Management; Oprah Winfrey Angel Network Award; a previous one-time federal appropriation of $1. 25 million, sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA).
SAGE, in collaboration with the San Francisco District Attorney and Police Department, was a pioneer in creating the First Offender Prostitution Program, or FOPP, and the Early Intervention Prostitution Program (EIPP). FOPP works directly with adult first offenders”— both those arrested for selling sex, and those arrested for buying sex. Through FOPP and EIPP, adult first-offenders may have an opportunity to attend John School”—an educational program to raise awareness among those who’ve purchased services from adult prostitutes; or participate in services geared towards prostitutes and prostituted minors.
The programs also include an early intervention” youth component designed for more sensitive handling of minors involved in CSE, to help divert youth from the justice system—and the system of violence in which they’ve been involved. In the coming few years, SAGE’s local service model will be expanded to include a safe house, a 24-hour hotline and 24-hour outreach services; and will be replicated by other communities throughout the country and elsewhere in the world.
Federal Working Groups on Gender Issues The gradual rise in juvenile arrest rates among young women has alarmed law enforcement agencies, and has encouraged cooperation between organizations that work with female youth. A result of recent inter-agency cooperation was the establishment of the Federal Working Group on Gender Issues. Effective programs prepare girls for re-entry into the community with support designed to help them avoid repeating risky behaviors.
Treatment plan includes assessing and developing resources to assist girls with re-entry, including mental and physical health care, educational, and vocational services. Re-entry services aimed at reducing recidivism among female juvenile delinquents may include: Aftercare: Effective programs provide a seamless continuum of care that does not end when girls return to the community. Keys to aftercare are graduated support” (a gradual withdrawal of services rather than an abrupt end) and long-term monitoring by an aftercare worker.
A structured program for helping girls return successfully to the community includes discussions, presentations, and counseling to prepare them for re-entry. A series of short furloughs can ease the transition by reintroducing girls to the community a little at a time. Aftercare workers who help develop the girls’ overall service plan and stay informed of their progress throughout their stay in the program spend time with the girls before they leave the program in order to build trust and rapport. Milan, 1996; Cowles, Castellano, & Gransky, 1995). Chances for successful re-entry are best when aftercare includes placement in employment or an educational program, with ongoing links to appropriate social services, including health care, mental health services, and services that strengthen the family. Girls with histories of sexual abuse and/or substance abuse may need intensive ongoing treatment. For youths with a high ikelihood of repeat offenses, the Intensive Aftercare Program model developed with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention supports five principles to cut the risks of recidivism (Altschuler & Armstrong, 1995): Preparing the youth for progressively increased responsibility and freedom in the community Facilitating the involvement of and interaction between the youth and the community Working with both the offender and community support systems, including families, peers, schools, and employers, on the qualities needed for constructive interaction and a youth’s successful community adjustment Developing new resources and support Monitoring and testing the youth and the community on their ability to deal with each other productively Missouri’s Girls Town Founded in 1953 by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Missouri, Missouri Girls Town is a residential treatment facility for girls, ages 8-21, who have been sexually abused, physically abused, or severely neglected.
Their mission is to create a loving, stable environment for the girls’ care and treatment and, in the process, help them develop the life skills they will need as adults. The young women at Girls Town resolve personal and emotional trauma with assistance from professional counselors and therapists on staff. Just as important, these girls live in an environment that emphasizes the normal process of growing up through group living, education, wholesome activities, and work. The Group’s History 50 Years and Still Growing 1953. Missouri Girls Town Foundation” is incorporated in the state of Missouri. The next year, at its convention in St. Joseph, Mo. , GFWC of Missouri adopts Missouri Girls Town as its number-one project. 1967.
Girls Town adds a new building to expand service. The new wing is named after Netta V. Jones of Springfield, Mo. She begins a long line of GFWC benefactors contributing lead gifts each time Girls Town expands. 1969. After ten years, Girls Town has helped 65 girls start a new life free of abuse and neglect. 1981. Missouri Girls Town moves to Kingdom City, Mo. , taking up residence on more than 20 acres donated by Bill & Peggy McClain. The first building on campus is built. Hope House is named after Phenie Hope Pott, a clubwoman and longtime supporter of Girls Town throughout her life. 1984. The first administrative building is built and named in memory of Herman T.
Pott, Phenie Pott’s late husband. A second residential home, Gerbes House, is also erected and named in honor of Frank J. and Minnie S. Gerbes. Mrs. Gerbes was also a GFWC clubwoman and longtime contributor. 1987. Roy R. Fowles, Ph. D. , comes to Missouri Girls Town as the organization’s tenth and longest running executive director. 1990. The Oliver Hook House is built and brings Girls Town’s capacity to 30 girls. The building is named for Denabel Oliver and Otie Hook, late parents of Helen Hook Vainikos, clubwoman and generous supporter to MGT. 1992. A new administrative building, McDonough Hall, is dedicated in memory of Judge Dayle C.
McDonough, late husband of Isabelle McDonough Bram, a clubwoman from Maysville, Mo. , and current member of the MGT Board. 1996. Girls Town begins two transitional programs off-campus to help older teens transition into adult life. The Auxvasse Group Home is established as a community-living program for five girls starting independent life, and the scatter-site apartment program provides final guidance for young women preparing for total independence. Construction is completed for the Wirts Center. The new dining and activity center is named in memory of Robert Wirts of Lamar, Mo. , by his wife Margaret Wirts, a GFWC member for more than 50 years. 1998. The McClain-Williams House opens on campus in August.
The 12-bed residence brings an expanded and redesigned transitional living program back to campus and raises Missouri Girls Town’s capacity to 50 residential clients at one time. The new building is named by Bill & Peggy McClain, of Wellsville, Mo. 1999. The Scallorns Recreation Center, complete with gymnasium, craft room, exercise room, client lounge and recreational office space, becomes the ninth building on campus. Joe & Fran Scallorns of California, Mo. , provide the naming gift for this building. Mrs. Scallorns is also a longtime GFWC member. 2002. The Lindsey Vinton Rickey School opens in August. The school is named by Isabelle McDonough Bram in memory of her father.
It contains six classrooms, a kitchen, computer room, conference rooms, offices and two multi-purpose rooms. 2003. Maternity House is built to accommodate residents who are pregnant or new mothers. House parents work with these girls to teach them the skills of prenatal and neonatal care. 2004. Missouri Girls Town becomes licensed and contracted to accept Dept. of Youth Service’s Level 4” youth, meaning that MGT can accept even the girls who need the most care and attention due to extreme circumstances. 2006. Maternity House is reconfigured to function as transitional home between campus life and off-campus Group Home” living.
Independent living program is implemented to focus on ensuring life skills in older teenage residents. Lindsey Vinton Rickey School joins with North Callaway School District in order to act as an alternative school on the MGT campus. 2007. Kathy Becker is named the new and current Executive Director of Missouri Girls Town. Effectiveness of the Group Since 1989 Girls Town has quadrupled in size and now serves 56 clients at a time – nearly 100 over the course of each year. The campus is now home to four residential cottages, two administrative buildings, recreation center, dining hall and school. Girls Town began off-campus programs in 1990 to assist girls in making the transition to independent life.
Off-campus sites now include the Auxvasse Transitional Group Home, scatter-site apartments, and a home for family visits and crisis housing. Girls Town has achieved far more than just physical growth. Counseling and treatment programs have expanded to fit the needs of today’s children, incorporating everything from education and job-skill training to extensive recreational opportunities. Every effort is made to prepare girls to reunite with their parent(s), relatives, adoptive family or foster care when a viable family exists. If clients do not have the option of returning to their community, Girls Town focuses care and treatment on a successful transition to independent life after high school.
After-care and outpatient services have also been added so that Girls Town can continue to provide assistance to girls who have left its care. In all, Girls Town has developed a broad continuum of services while remaining true to its mission to provide individualized, loving care to each one of its residents. Conclusion Bibliography Altschuler, D. M. , & Armstrong, T. L. (1995). Challenge activities program areas—Challenge Activity 1. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. American Correctional Association (1990). The female offender: What does the future hold? Washington, DC: St. Mary’s Press. Arnold, R. 1995). Processes of victimization and criminalization of black women. In B. R. Price & N. L. Sokoloff (Eds. ), The criminal justice system and women: Offenders, victims and workers (pp. 136-146). New York: McGraw-Hill. Belknap, J. & Holsinger, K. (1998). An overview of delinquent girls: How theory and practice have failed and the need for innovative changes. In R. Zaplin (Ed. ), Female crime and delinquency: Critical perspectives and effective interventions. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers. Chesney-Lind, M. & Shelden, R. (1998). Girls, delinquency, and juvenile justice (second edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Chesney-Lind, M. & Rodriquez, N. 1983). Women under lock and key. Prison Journal, 63, 47-65. Cowles, E. L. , Castellano, T. C. , & Gransky, L. A. (1995). Boot Camp” drug treatment and aftercare interventions: An evaluation review. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. Demo, Williams & Schmeidler. (1993). Gender differences in service needs among youths entering a juvenile assessment center. Journal of Prison and Jail Health, 12, 73-101. Foundation, M. G. (n. d. ). All you ever wanted to know about MGT. Retrieved from http://www. mogirlstown. org/AboutMGT. htm Girls Incorporated. (1996). Prevention and parity: Girls in juvenile justice.
Indianapolis: Girls Incorporated National Resource Center. Milan, M. A. (1996). Working in institutions. In C. R. Hollin & K. Howells (Eds. ), Clinical approaches to working with young offenders. Chichester, England/New York: John Wiley & Sons. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2000a). Female delinquency cases,1997. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Justice. Owen, B. & Bloom B. (1998). Modeling gender-specific services in juvenile justice: Final report to the office of criminal justice planning, Sacramento CA: OCJP. The Sage Project. (n. d. ). Retrieved August 2009, from Standing Against Global Exploitation: http://www. sagesf. org/html/about_main. htm

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