The "Girl Scouts Beyond Bars" program began in 1992 as a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) pilot demonstration project at Maryland's Correctional Institution for Women, and similar Girl Scout programs have been formed at other correctional institutions across the United States.
In 1993, the NIJ awarded a one-time $15,000 demonstration grant to the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. Currently, 12 participating sites in Maryland are funded through private contributions and foundation and State grants in excess of $600,000. In 1994, the NIJ awarded a $62,000 grant to the University of Baltimore to research and evaluate the original Maryland demonstration site; evaluation findings are expected in 1996. In the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program, activities are intended to be fun and educational by focusing on such areas as aerobics, math and science careers, and arts and crafts. More serious issues are also addressed creatively, including self- esteem, drug abuse, relationships, coping with family crisis, reproductive anatomy and physiology, and teenage pregnancy prevention. On alternate Saturdays when girls do are not with their mothers, they meet at a central location in the community to participate in projects, field activities, and relationship building. The strength of the partnership between corrections and the Girl Scouts organization and limitations of the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program are noted. 9 references