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Female Delinquents Committed to the Illinois Department of Corrections: A Profile

NCJ Number
Megan Buurma Alderden M.S.; Adriana Perez M.A.
Date Published
December 2003
This report provides comprehensive information on the characteristics and needs of female delinquents committed to the Illinois Department of Corrections, as well as future directions in working with female delinquents.
In recent years, practitioners have noticed an increase in the numbers of female juveniles being arrested. This increase has resulted in more females moving through the juvenile justice system. However, with this increase little is known about the needs of female delinquents; this is also true in the State of Illinois. To address the lack of information available on female delinquents in Illinois, this study, supported by the U.S. Department Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, first sought to develop a profile of female delinquents committed to the Department of Corrections. Second, the study sought to learn more about the experiences of practitioners working with female delinquents, and lastly, to identify recommendations to assist the implementation of programming and policies to address the needs of female delinquents in Illinois. In this study, the Illinois Youth Center in Warrenville was utilized. This facility is devoted solely to female delinquents. Highlights of findings from the report include: (1) admission data from fiscal year 1993 to 2002 found that the female new court admission rate to Illinois Youth Centers was much lower than the rate of males; (2) over three-quarters of the females sampled were committed to the Department of Corrections after being tried and adjudicated delinquent; (3) over half of the females had experienced either physical and/or sexual abuse at least once in their lifetime; (4) many females entering the department had extensive arrest histories; and (5) focus group participants reported filling various roles staff reported engaging in while working with females with the most frequent role cited being a surrogate parent. Based on the characteristics and findings from the focus groups, several programming and policy recommendations were compiled and are presented in this report. Figures, tables, references, and appendixes A-C