Girls and Crime What about girls? Stress, teenage mother hood, drug habits all those components needs survival skills. How do you keep those survival skills? Gangs, prostitution, abuse? To us juvenile delinquency is something that we look at it with disdain instead of taking the time to look into sociological issues, emotional issues and the reality that would give us a clearer view and still not make us feel or understand the conditions they live in, the pressures they go through or face everyday. For us to be able to make a non judgmental opinion is very difficult, perhaps many of us have been affected by the wrong doings of some delinquent’s actions such as a drive by shooting, being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The realization, what we call going through a day, everyday, is a day they’ve survived. True there are other options to those girls, but realistically how many are able to go and get out as easy as those programs claim it is? The emotion I used to write this paper was compassion.
I believe that because of that emotion I was able to bring a difference to the view of the female delinquent. State juvenile justice systems across the country are challenged by the question: What about girls? This question cannot be ignored because female involvement in the juvenile justice system continues on a steady course upward — even as juvenile male involvement in delinquency declines. Between 1992 and 1996 the number of juvenile females arrested for Violent Crime Index offenses increased 25 percent, with no increase in arrests of male juveniles for the same offenses. Juvenile female arrests for Property Crime Index offenses increased 21 percent, while juvenile male arrests in this category decreased 4 percent. Law enforcement agencies made 723,000 arrests of juvenile females in 1996 (Snyder, 1997).
Female involvement in the juvenile justice system, once seen as an anomaly, has evolved into a significant trend. State and local juvenile justice systems are increasingly called upon to address the needs of juvenile female offenders and at-risk girls. Recognizing that these needs require national attention, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has launched a multilevel approach. It includes reviewing how States are dealing with female juvenile offenders, developing an inventory of best practices, producing a prototype-training curriculum, and implementing a variety of program development activities. Which would contradict with Chesney-Lind and Shelden’s (1992:97) point that despite increases over the past decade in both the number of female-headed household and more women in the workplace, female delinquency has either remained the same or declined.
Then again it was not until women entered the criminology force, that gender issues began to be seriously addressed. What about girls? In its own way, there are often common challenges: A growing number of female offenders. Demand for comprehensive needs assessments that identify gaps in the provision of services for girls. The necessity of developing and implementing gender-specific services and programs designed to meet the unique needs of girls. Competition for scarce resources and a limited understanding of what works for girls.
Another specific question is why is there an increase? Well maybe we should look at the reasons behind the actions, or maybe how they have rationalized their actions in order to be able to carry the crime. The video I have seen was a home tape of multiple shows or documentary on female crime. I was only able to come out from it with a fear, empathy, and even more confused then I first saw a video in the class and this is why. When watching the video in our classroom about the male delinquent, I saw pain in their eyes and some I saw “I am getting my fifteen minute of fame” look. The girl’s video in class and my friend’s was the need to survive look in almost all the girls’ faces.
In the boys I saw it too but I found it very hardcore. I believe that if we were to break that faade of authoritarian, need to prove a point to society, I believe we can make an immense difference. From most of the female offenders, my first realization was the neighborhood they lived in. The living conditions, such as dirt, roach infested rooms, no education, the male dominating ghettos and not much nutrition. Most were mothers and the oldest was 18.
The most interesting part was that the owners were not part of a minority groups, most were white or Asian and that most were living in rich neighborhoods. One actually said “they want to pay low rent, low rent equals low income, low income equals low maintenance”. From that we can see one way or one reason for the need to want to make fast money and get the “hell” out. Now to come to this easy cash flow or even come to better living conditions, you have to be able to see things as a need, necessity and if you need you can rationalize most. The realization or the come to be aware of what or where you live can make you not want to feel, which will bring you to two options.
One is alcohol, the one thing that will make you go through the day easier and the second is drugs. You now have a habit to upkeep and a habit costs, hence the sell of drugs in order for you to keep you habit or selling yourself. In both situation you need to be careful, not to feel that cheap dirty guy who wants to be with you for a thrill and him knowing you will do it just because you need the money. If you are a single mother you want the best for your child you do not want them to be or have what you’ve had and so the vicious circle of rationalizations comes to play, again. The book portrays a very different image on the female delinquent and calls her the less then perfect girl. According to Lombroso and Ferrero (1895) the female was bad just because she was a female.
That her reaction to situations were emotional and therefore just as bad as male criminals, that “their evil tendencies .. more varied than men’s” and so because they are females the get away with everything, because they are less visible then men. You then have the theory of Freud (1924) where he called female crimes as “Penis envy”. Unlike Freud, Thomas saw the female problem stemmed from inadequate families, demoralization and frustration from social rules and moral codes. Which for me was the closest to the article I showed you on the previous pages, and most agreed with? In conclusion I think that the more research that will be done in the socioeconomic concepts, then focus on individual concepts, we then will be able to understand and compare progress.
You cannot judge a delinquent according to William Foote Whyte’s ” Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum” unless you have been in his shoes. I believe that his research was correct and precise. That you can judge him but you cannot understand him. Our goals today should be to understand. Our goals today should be to better our education, to make it accessible to others in lower income places and that way we can make a difference.
Bibliography Reference: Bell, Sandra J. 1943 “Young Offenders and Juvenile Justice: A century after the fact. Home videos of public television shows and documentary Snyder, H.N. 1997 Juvenile Arrests 1996. Department of Justice, Office of Justice programs Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention Journal by Budnick, Kimberly.