Gender Differences Within Juvenile Status Offenses

1650 Words7 Pages
Gender Differences Within Juvenile Status Offenses
University of Utah
Rachel Brough

Juvenile status offenses are minor offenses that only apply to those under the age of 18 such as skipping school or running away from home. Other examples include curfew violations, possession and consumption of alcohol, and possession and use of tobacco. Theories such as the labeling theory and Robert Agnew’s General Strain Theory attempt to explain why females commit juvenile status offenses. Additional theories attempt to explain their treatment in the juvenile justice system such as the Chivalry Hypothesis. Based on the rising rates of status offenses for girls and the unique factors that contribute to this issue, better prevention and
…show more content…
Girls tend to have additional risk factors prior to entering the status offense system. The majority of girls that enter the juvenile justice system have significant health and family problems including instability, violence, trauma, and neglect (Watson & Edelman, 2013).
Facilities and workers in the juvenile justice system are not designed or trained to address these gender-specific problems. Not only does the juvenile justice system not address the root causes of the delinquent behavior, but many girls often feel re-traumatized from the status offender system, especially runaway girls (Godsoe, 2014).
Most girls that are arrested and detained have committed non-violent offenses, and they are usually not able to get the help that they need. Parents are the primary reporters of female status offenders in contrast to male status offenders that are reported by school or law officials (Donley, 2007; Godsoe, 2014). This shows that the girls may not actually be criminal, but that the parents are unable to manage the child.
It has also been suggested that the criminal justice system has been used to enforce conforming to societal standards (Godsoe, 2014; Schulze & Bryan, 2017). This is evidence that the issue related to girls is not necessarily offending but a criminal system that is not designed for them and a society that aims to control female behavior. “In 2006, technical
Get Access