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More Girls Filling the Juvenile Justice System

Efforts at reducing the number of boys getting caught up in the juvenile have been working. Studies are showing that their numbers have been falling over the past ten years. Sadly, the opposite is true for girls.

NPR recently reported that girls are now among the most rapidly-growing segment of the juvenile justice system. Experts told the news organization that over 300,000 girls are arrested and charged with juvenile crimes every year.

The question that many are wondering is what is causing this rise and is the juvenile justice system the best way to help these girls? A report released by the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy has found a disturbing correlation between the dysfunctional family environments, a pattern of abuse and trauma and girls getting in trouble with the law.

Many experts believe what these girls need is therapy, not detention. The focus should be on helping the girls get back into school to preserve their opportunities rather than close doors on them.

While the report confirms that girls generally aren't committing big crimes. Running away from home, breaking curfew and skipping school are the most common juvenile offenses committed by girls.

Unlike the adult justice system, which is punitive in nature, the juvenile system is supposed to be restorative. The focus is generally on rehabilitating children rather than locking them away. If the crime is serious enough, however, a juvenile may adult certified to face the charges in adult court.

Our law firm has extensive experience protection the rights of young people while helping them navigate the juvenile justice system. For more information, please visit our Minneapolis criminal defense website.

Source: www.wbur.org, "Tough Times For Girls In Juvenile Justice System," Carrie Johnson, 24 October 2012

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