Diverting At-Risk Girls Away from the Juvenile System
While the number of boys in the juvenile justice system has dropped over the past decade, the number of girls in the system has actually increased. But that doesn't mean we have more violent girls nowadays. Over half the girls in the juvenile justice system are detained for non-violent transgressions, including skipping school, breaking curfew or running away, reports NPR reporter Carrie Johnson. And most of the girls have family problems, trauma or a history of abuse.
So what can we do?
At Reclaiming Futures, we believe that through treatment and pro-social activities, communities can reclaim their troubled young people. We agree with Minnesota prosecutor James Backstrom who told Johnson that, "if we're going to reduce crime in America in the long run, we have to start with our kids, with early intervention and prevention efforts." That's why we create teams of juvenile court judges, treatment providers, probation officers and community officers to coordinate efforts and intervene in the lives of troubled girls and boys. By devoting resources to our young people and connecting them with treatment and caring adults, we can turn their lives around while keeping our communities safe.
Thank you to NPR for shedding light on this troubling trend! Listen to the full story and let us know how you are working to keep girls out of the juvenile justice system. We want to hear your successes and challenges in the comments below.
Liz Wu is a Digital Accounts Manager at Prichard Communications, where she oversees digital outreach for Reclaiming Futures and edits Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Before joining the Prichard team, Liz established the West Coast communications presence for the New America Foundation, where she managed all media relations, event planning and social media outreach for their 6 domestic policy programs. Liz received a B.A. in both Peace and Conflict Studies and German from the University of California at Berkeley. She tweets from @LizSF.
*Photo at top by Flickr user nolifebeforecoffee