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Pre-Adjudicated and Adjudicated Girls' Reports on Their Lives Before and During Detention and Incarceration (From Female Offenders: Critical Perspectives and Effective Interventions, Second Edition, P 251-281, 2008, Ruth T. Zaplin, ed. -- See NCJ-225923)

NCJ Number
Joanne Belknap; Bonnie Cady
Date Published
31 pages
The purpose of the study reported in this chapter was to use focus groups to gain a better understanding of what preadjudicated and adjudicated girls reported about their experiences before and during incarceration.
The study found four main themes that are common concerns of both adjudicated and preadjudicated girls, as well as of social service professionals who work with them; these themes include: (1) girls seldom get help before they are committed; (2) girls want and need more health education and services; (3) some girls within the corrections system should be getting help elsewhere; and (4) girls generally perceive their opportunities for training in life skills to be less than that offered to boys in the criminal justice system. The most important finding from the study reported is the ways that girls’ serious struggles, including their abuse victimizations, are unnoticed, or if noticed, not responded to in any meaningful way, until they commit crimes. Consistent with other recent studies on this topic, this study emphasizes the need for financial investment in adequate responses to delinquent girls and recognizing the gender-specific needs of girls. However, the study also stresses the need for better intervention with girls at risk for delinquency before they commit crimes. The study employed a collaborative research design and used focus groups to collect data on the reported experiences of preadjudicated and adjudicated girls before and during incarceration. A total of 30 committed girls and 33 preadjudicated girls participated in the focus groups across Colorado. Appendix, note, and references