Girls in juvenile detention are often the victims of family violence, report finds

“Tanya Robinson’s time in juvenile detention started with the offense of running away. She first ran away from home when she was seven years old, having been molested by her mother’s boyfriends for a year. Stripped naked by and fleeing a beating from her mother, Robinson hurried into the bathroom and slipped out the window before her mother could open the door, covered her body with a T-shirt from a clothes line, and ran.

When she was 14 and still running, her mother took her to a South Carolina court as a runaway, and she was shackled and taken away.

Since Robinson, now 38, was a juvenile, the share of girls in detention has spiked more than 40%. Of those girls now in the US juvenile justice system, 84% have experienced family violence, according to new research.”

Girls Serve Significantly Longer Sentences Than Boys in the Juvenile Justice System

“Austin, Texas – Females in the Texas juvenile justice system are often at greater risk of serving longer sentences and having a mental health need than their male counterparts, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin.

In a cross-system study, Erin Espinosa, a research associate at the School of Social Work’s Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health, looked at 5,019 juveniles across three large urban counties in Texas during a two-year period. Results, published in the latest issue of Criminal Justice and Behavior, show that female juveniles serve significantly longer periods of confinement in local facilities than their male counterparts. Findings also show that females with histories of traumatic experiences such as sexual abuse are kept in out-of-home care for longer periods than males. These findings complement prior research by Espinosa, published in 2013, which showed that female juveniles are approximately at seven times greater risk of out-of-home placement.”

Gender Injustice: System-Level Juvenile Justice Reform For Girls

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. The literature is clear that girls in the justice system have experienced abuse, violence, adversity, and deprivation across many of the domains of their lives—family, peers, intimate partners, and community. There is also increasing understanding of the sorts of programs helpful to these girls. What is missing is a focus on how systems—and particularly juvenile justice systems—can be redesigned to protect public safety and support the healing and healthy development of girls and young women.

President Obama speaking

Obama Speech Focuses on Plight of US Black Women

“U.S. President Barack Obama said African-American women continue to face long odds to succeed more than five decades after the height of the civil rights movement.

Speaking Saturday at the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation awards dinner in Washington, Obama praised the role black women played in the campaign for civil rights, from strategizing boycotts to organizing marches, even though they were not in leadership positions.

But he said that while black women and girls in the United States have made progress in terms of education and economics, they are still more likely to be mired in poverty due to working in low-wage jobs, and are incarcerated at twice the rate as white women.”

Juvenile Justice Reform Must Address the Unique Needs of LGBTQ Girls

“After being in and out of court for offenses such as shoplifting clothing and fighting back at school, Destiny, a 15-year-old African American transgender girl, was sent to a high security juvenile detention facility for boys, since no other program would take her. Other youth at the facility regularly subjected her to sexual assault and intimidation. Meanwhile, the adults entrusted with her care did little to prevent this abuse, refusing to recognize her gender identity and even blaming her for the harassment. Once released, advocates worried that, if arrested again, Destiny would land in the adult criminal justice system, where she would be even less likely to receive services appropriate to her as a young transgender survivor of sexual violence and harassment.

Unfortunately, Destiny’s story is not unique. Far too many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth who encounter the juvenile justice system are placed in facilities that fail to address past experiences of trauma or where they are at risk for sexual violence. Juvenile justice initiatives often fail to include the unique challenges confronted by young LGBTQ women of color in their approaches, making issues associated with sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression invisible.”