Essay on The Increase in Female Juvenile Offenders

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For many, the term juvenile delinquent likely conjures up images of groups of young men standing on street corners, wearing baggy clothes, and boasting defiant attitudes. However, some may be surprised to learn that the face of the juvenile delinquent is swiftly changing. While boys are responsible for the majority of juvenile crime overall, the number of juvenile females involved with the justice system has been steadily increasing over the past three decades (Gross 84). Of greatest concern is the context of the crimes being committed by juvenile girls, as arrest rates have increased most in the area of violent offenses. In response to this emerging trend, juvenile justice professionals are increasingly advocating for gender …show more content…
By 2005, girls were responsible for one-quarter of all juvenile arrests for aggravated assault, demonstrating an increase of 94 percent over the past three decades (Gross 84; Zahn, “Violence” 4). Investigating the root causes behind the increase of violent behavior in girls and its correlation to delinquency is essential to the development of effective prevention tools. Dr. Bruce Gross, PhD, notes 40 developmental assets whose presence strongly influences the likelihood of delinquency. Gross identifies these assets as internal values such as self-esteem and conflict resolution skills, and external values such as healthy support systems and constructive use of time. The degree to which these assets were present or absent were found to be directly related to the likelihood of delinquent involvement, and the more assets a child possessed the less likely they were to be involved with problematic or risky behavior. Family support alone stood out as an accurate predictor of delinquency, and adolescent girls in detention facilities typically report dysfunctional family environments and poor parental relationships (85-86). Family moral structure and the criminal activity of parents or guardians are suspected to influence the tendency of an adolescent to engage in delinquent behaviors, and may be more influential for girls as compared to boys. Yet these suspicions have not withstood empirical research on the possible association, as

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