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Girls in Minnesota Correctional Facilities: Responses to the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey

NCJ Number
Dana Swayze; Danette Buskovick
Date Published
December 2011
46 pages
This report explores the distinctive experiences and responses of girls in Minnesota's juvenile correctional facilities (n=103) compared to boys (n=481) based on their completion of the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey, which addresses a variety of issues that include youth attitudes, behaviors, and health, as well as a range of protective factors.
In comparing boys' and girls' responses to the survey, it is evident that girls' experiences, needs, and responses to trauma require gender-specific programming. Girls have distinctive pathways that bring them into contact with the juvenile justice system. Girls in the juvenile justice system have a high prevalence of physical and sexual victimization, underlying reasons for their chemical use, and mental and emotional health issues related to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder at rates significantly higher than boys. Although gender-specific programming exists in Minnesota, it has yet to be integrated into all aspects of service delivery. As practitioners, gender-responsive approaches must be integrated into all levels of service and treatment for girls. Policymakers must review practices in arrest, detention, prosecution, and placement laws and policies in order to ensure that the system response does not result in an unintentional overrepresentation of girls in the juvenile justice system or create different criteria of accountability for girls and boys due to gender bias of system processionals. Extensive figures, 103 references, and appended characteristics of participating facilities and a profile of the Girls Study Group