Report: “Gender Injustice”

Today’s post will focus on a new report entitled GENDER INJUSTICE about how girls get caught in the juvenile justice system. Hawai`i’s adult incarcerated women are about 12% of the incarcerated population.  We need to pay attention to and stop the flow of the youth to adult prison pipeline.

We must all be concerned with the inequality in our justice system. Please speak out in support of appropriate sentencing that is proportionate to the offense. We cannot afford to continue creating a criminal underclass.

The Prominence and Plight Of Girls in the Juvenile Justice System
Girls, many of whom have suffered a range of trauma at home, make up a growing share of children arrested and detained across the country.
Joe Sexton, ProPublica, Oct. 2, 2015


“But a recent report by researchers has highlighted what they call a disturbing trend: the prominence and plight of girls in the juvenile justice system.

“In 1992, according to the report, Gender Injustice, girls made up 20 percent of the children arrested in the U.S. In 2012, girls accounted for 29 percent of children arrested, a near 50 percent increase. The percentage of girls in the population of children sent to formal detention facilities grew similarly over those years.

“The authors of the report, Francine Sherman, a professor at Boston College Law School, and Annie Balck, a lawyer formerly with the Children’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., explain the trend by citing the unintended consequences of a crackdown on domestic violence as well as the failures of reform efforts to address the specific needs of girls.

“Girls in the juvenile justice system, they argue, are far more likely to have suffered a range of trauma at home before they wind up arrested. Indeed, girls are 4.4 times more likely than boys to have been sexually abused prior to their brushes with the law.”

The Report:

GENDER INJUSTICE   System-Level Juvenile Justice Reforms for Girls

Francine T. Sherman and Annie Balck, 2015
In partnership with: The Crittenton Foundation and National Women’s Law Center

Full Report here

Executive Summary here


“Every day in the U.S., abused and traumatized girls enter and are pushed through the justice system. Despite decades of attention, the proportion of girls in the juvenile justice system has increased and their challenges have remained remarkably consistent, resulting in deeply rooted, systemic gender injustice. Even in the midst of the current “developmental era” of reform, juvenile justice systems are routinely failing to modify promising system reforms for girls or even to collect data on how girls are affected by the problems systems seek to remedy.

“Despite overall declining juvenile arrest rates, in the last two decades, girls’ share of the juvenile justice system increased at all stages of the juvenile justice process:

  • Arrests increased 45 percent (from 20 to 29 percent);
  • Court caseload increased 40 percent (from 20 to 28 percent);
  • Detentions increased 40 percent (from 15 to 21 percent);
  • Post-adjudication probation increased 44 percent (from 16 to 23 percent); and
  • Post-adjudication placement increased 42 percent (from 12 to 17 percent).

“The traumatic and unhealthy social environments in which many girls live result in behaviors that are criminalized or are mishandled by other systems, resulting in girls’ entry into the juvenile justice system. Once girls are there, misguided processes pull them deeper into a system that is not built to help, heal, or respond to girls’ developmental needs, and often actually worsens girls’ situations.”


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