Girls, gangs, violence, and justice

An overview

Authored by: Lisa Pasko , Meda Chesney-Lind

The Routledge International Handbook of Violence Studies

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138283442
eBook ISBN: 9781315270265
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315270265-35

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Abstract

As girls’ arrests for assault rose at the turn of the century, juvenile justice decision-makers and academics alike expressed concern over girls’ increasing use of violence. For example, girls’ arrests for aggravated assault rose from 40.8 per 100,000 in 1980 to 95.3 per 100,000 in 2000 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2017). Likewise, girls’ referrals to juvenile court for person offenses increased by 200% during this time, with 30% of girls in residential placements committed for a violent offense (Sickmund, Sladky, & Kang, 2017). Although female juvenile crime has decreased overall in recent years, the percentage of girls referred to court and in custody for person offenses remains about the same (33%; Sickmund et al., 2017). With these changes, it is not surprising that scholarly and popular attention has been paid to girls’ fighting and aggression. This chapter provides an overall examination of key research on the contexts that produce girls’ violence, including a critical look at girls’ participation in gangs. It also examines current law enforcement and justice practices that have impacted girls’ violent offense arrests, adjudications, and commitments. Lastly, this chapter ends with policy recommendations and conclusions.

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