Status of Females in the Juvenile Justice System Iowa, 2009

(2009) Status of Females in the Juvenile Justice System Iowa, 2009. Human Rights, Department of


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Young women in the juvenile justice system present with characteristics and experiences that differentiate them from their male counterparts. As such, the juvenile justice system in Iowa must consider these factors if it is to effectively and efficiently impact recidivism, rehabilitation and public safety. Data reveal the following trends: All youth in the juvenile justice system experience a significantly higher rate of child maltreatment than do youth in the general population. Additionally, young women have a distinctly higher percentage of reported sexual abuse. Young women commit primarily non-violent offenses, with shoplifting and running away being the only two areas where they exceed young men in number. Young women are held in detention for a substantially higher percentage of misdemeanor versus felony offenses than young men. Young women of color, particularly African American females, are far more likely to come into contact with the juvenile justice system. Additionally, arrests of minority females have increased during the same time frame as arrests of Caucasian females have decreased. The general type of offense committed by young women is against public order (i.e. alcohol related violations, disorderly conduct) or property (i.e. shoplifting), though young women with subsequent charges of a violent nature are likely to have had violent offenses initially as well. Historically, young women have been a smaller segment of the juvenile justice population. They remain so today. Consequently, they are easy to overlook. But Iowa’s response to them is no less important. Perhaps, because they are fewer in number, our system can have a true and meaningful influence, with prevention of further penetration into both the juvenile and adult systems being the ultimate goal. The Iowa Task Force on Young Women recommends the following measures to facilitate movement toward that goal: 1. Facilities and programs striving to provide the most effective and efficient services to young women will opt for single gender environments with female responsive programming that includes components to address trauma. 2. All institutions and agencies that work with females involved in the juvenile justice system and which receive state funding should be required to provide annual female responsive training to their employees. Training should be research based, progressive, ongoing and result in an implementation plan. 3. As detention reform proceeds, gender and the disproportionate number of females in detention for misdemeanor offenses must be an integral part of policy and decision making discussions including any recommendations for solutions to be implemented. 4. As research, data and planning progresses related to disproportionate minority contact with the juvenile system, the needs of girls of color be given equal consideration. Specifically, assessment tools must be without race/ethnic bias and they must also be female responsive.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Juvenile Justice System, Commission on the Status of Woman, Female, Crimes
Subjects: Social issues and programs > Civil and human rights
Social issues and programs
Social issues and programs > Ethics
Social issues and programs > Civil and human rights > Discrimination
Social issues and programs > Family > Domestic violence
ID Code: 9114
Deposited By: Margaret Barr
Deposited On: 19 Jan 2010 15:25
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2010 15:25