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Stirred, Shaken, or Blended?: Gender Differences in Processing and Treatment of Juvenile Offenders

NCJ Number
Women & Criminal Justice Volume: 18 Issue: 4 Dated: 2007 Pages: 17-36
Nicole T. Flynn; Roma S. Hanks; Lindsey Gurley
Date Published
20 pages
This study examined variations in levels of offending and the official response to boys’ and girls' misbehavior.
Findings suggest the gendered nature of the criminal justice system. Girls begin getting in trouble for less serious and different behaviors than boys. Once involved in the system, girls are also monitored more closely. Both of these findings show differences in control of girls and are consistent with gendered norms that regulate girls' behavior and restrict their space to roam while providing boys with more behavior latitude. This study found no gender differences in risk assessment, rule violations, and the odds of receiving high-level sanctions. This suggests that despite the differences in their official records, girl's ways are assessed similarly and appear to display similar levels of misbehavior and are equally likely to receive serious sanctions for their acts. Differential response to activities of boys and girls proves that gendered differences persist. For example, girls and boys may violate different rules, but once girls become involved in the justice system--for less serious levels of offending--they are subject to similar and perhaps excessive formal controls. For a less serious pattern of activity, misbehaving girls were viewed as more problematic than delinquent boys and were then responded to accordingly, with more aggressive treatment. For both boys and girls, entry into the justice system is shaped both by their gender and the gendered expectations of those working in the institution. Data were collected from court files, aftercare case manager files, individual calendars which track the monitoring of each juvenile, and records from probation offenses. The sample included 167 males and 84 females who were in aftercare as of September 2002. Tables, figure, note and references