Relationships' Role in Female Juvenile Delinquency. (CT Feature).Female juvenile offenders represent a misunderstood, understudied population within the juvenile justice system. A system that historically has studied the anti-social behavior of adolescent males, the juvenile justice system has been challenged with addressing the decade-long rise in the number of adolescent females in the juvenile justice system.
E. Poe-Yamagota and A.J. Butts' 1996 report, Female Offenders in the Juvenile Justice System: Statistics Summary, documented the significant increase in violent crime index offenses by female juvenile offenders. Many jurisdictions have been confronted with a growing adolescent female population, while gender-specific services are limited, particularly for females incarceated in secure juvenile facilities.
Possible developmental trajectories for anti-social behavior in adolescent females are being developed and studied, including J. Belknap and K. Holsinger's victim-to-offender theory, "An Overview of Delinquent Girls," which explores the significance of negative, traumatic relationships in the risk potential for female adolescents for involvement in the juvenile justice system.
For the last decade, juvenile justice professionals have focused on how to address the needs of female adolescents in the juvenile justice system. When focusing on differences in offending of·fend
v. of·fend·ed, of·fend·ing, of·fends
1. To cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings in.
2. behaviors, the role of relationships in the overall development of adolescent females is an important one for practitioners, administrators, policy-makers and decision-makers. How adolescent females view relationships, particularly negative relationships; adolescent females' attitudes and perceptions about others; the meanings they place on their relationship experiences; and how these experiences shape their current relationships are critical questions regarding adolescent females' relationship histories. The trauma many of them experience provokes their understanding of interpersonal relationships This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims.
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This article has been tagged since September 2007. and their own coping mechanisms coping mechanism Psychiatry Any conscious or unconscious mechanism of adjusting to environmental stress without altering personal goals or purposes .
Relationships represent sources of both joy and pain for adolescent females. Healthy relationships can boost their selfesteem and self-confidence, whereas negative relationships can foster a form of aggression known as relational aggression Relational aggression is psychological (social/emotional) aggression between people in relationships. Relational aggression is a form of aggression where the group is used as a weapon to assault others and others' relationships. , in which adolescent females try to hurt others in response to their pain. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. George Calhoun, Janelle Jurgens and Fengling Chen, adolescent females in the juvenile justice system report a 70 percent rate of victimization victimization Social medicine The abuse of the disenfranchised–eg, those underage, elderly, ♀, mentally retarded, illegal aliens, or other, by coercing them into illegal activities–eg, drug trade, pornography, prostitution. , including physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
Consequently, the purpose of this article is to delineate the importance of relationships in developing healthy and unhealthy outcomes for adolescent females, particularly the role of relationships in the development of female juvenile delinquency juvenile delinquency, legal term for behavior of children and adolescents that in adults would be judged criminal under law. In the United States, definitions and age limits of juveniles vary, the maximum age being set at 14 years in some states and as high as 21 Practitioners decision-makers and policy-makers need the tools to develop relationship-based interventions that represent the foundation for gender-specific programming for adolescent females. These tools can help reduce the incidence of offending behaviors and the level of involvement of adolescent females in the juvenile justice system. To understand the risk for adolescent females, professionals must understand the importance of negative, traumatic relationships in the development of adolescent females.
IMPACT OF VICTIMIZATION
Belknap and Holsinger's victim-to-offender theory of female juvenile delinquency targets the role of victimization in the development of negative behaviors that influence females' involvement in the juvenile justice system. Given these negative and traumatic relationship histories, relationship-based intervention models are needed to help girls learn' about healthy relationships. Unhealthy relationships have been modeled in significant ways of life. Healthy relationships can be modeled through relationship-based interventions. These program models focus on girls' need to connect with others and how this need plays into their daily decision-making.
Adolescent females' need to connect with others may contribute to prolonged pro·long
tr.v. pro·longed, pro·long·ing, pro·longs
1. To lengthen in duration; protract.
2. To lengthen in extent. involvement in victimization. They are socialized so·cial·ize
v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable. as little girls to care for others, sometimes to the neglect of self. This can be illustrated through the socialization socialization /so·cial·iza·tion/ (so?shal-i-za´shun) the process by which society integrates the individual and the individual learns to behave in socially acceptable ways.
n. process of a girl connecting to her toy doll. As girls learn throughout their development to care for others, they do not effectively learn to care for themselves. Moreover, girls' loyalty to negative peers, romantic partners or family members may influence their involvement in criminal activities, however, some female adolescents are seeking to improve their relationships rather than build criminal careers. With a lack of research focusing on female juvenile delinquency, it is unclear if adolescent females with histories of victimization may be prone to that delinquency, compared to adolescent females who have not been victimized.
GENDER DIFFERENCES IN EXPRESSIONS OF AGGRESSION
Relationships are at the center of aggressive response in adolescent females. Boys are more likely to engage in overt aggression than girls. Overt aggression involves inflicting physical harm or intimidating in·tim·i·date
tr.v. in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing, in·tim·i·dates
1. To make timid; fill with fear.
2. To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats. , physical actions toward a potential victim. On the other hand, researcher Nicki Crick Crick , Francis Henry Compton 1916-2004.
British biologist who with James D. Watson proposed a spiral model, the double helix, for the molecular structure of DNA. He shared a 1962 Nobel Prize for advances in the study of genetics. notes that girls are more likely to engage in relational aggression, which involves harming others by harming the relationship. Relational aggression may include isolating a peer from interaction within one's targeted peer group, ignoring or avoiding someone, spreading lies and/or gossip about an individual, and engaging in a variety of nonverbal non·ver·bal
1. Being other than verbal; not involving words: nonverbal communication.
2. Involving little use of language: a nonverbal intelligence test. , negative behaviors such as rolling the eyes, avoiding eye contact, and ignoring individuals in social interactions. Even though relational aggression has been studied within normative nor·ma·tive
Of, relating to, or prescribing a norm or standard: normative grammar.
nor , educational settings, Crick notes that this concept has generalizability in juvenile justice settings, particularly in out-of-home placements, including foster care, group homes, alternative sc hools, probation programs and secure juvenile facilities. Further, relational aggression may represent a precursor precursor /pre·cur·sor/ (pre´kur-ser) something that precedes. In biological processes, a substance from which another, usually more active or mature, substance is formed. In clinical medicine, a sign or symptom that heralds another. to the use of overt aggression among adolescent females.
Gender-specific programming for adolescent females provides a framework for assisting those who have been traumatized to overcome their pain and develop positive, healthy relationships. Gender-specific program interventions that are relationship-based include individual, group and family therapy, and service learning models. Individual therapy, counseling and mentoring should focus on self-nurturing skills, self-esteem building, and positive womanhood wom·an·hood
1. The state or time of being a woman.
2. The composite of qualities thought to be appropriate to or representative of women.
3. development, which focuses on teaching girls to embrace their femaleness and honor and respect their identities. Group interventions can augment this process by also targeting pro-social skills and positive peer relationships. Within group interventions, adolescent females can learn how to establish and maintain healthy relationships. Targeted behaviors such as relational aggression can be addressed within this group context. The use of relational aggression reflects girls' inability to directly communicate their feelings and needs. Adolescent females may resor t to indirect communication with relationally aggressive behaviors. Intense relational aggression directed toward another over an extended period may develop into overt aggression.
Family intervention can help adolescent females confront family dynamics that disempower dis·em·pow·er
tr.v. dis·em·pow·ered, dis·em·pow·er·ing, dis·em·pow·ers
To deprive of power or influence.
dis the developing females. According to juvenile justice consultant Laurene Bowers Bowers is a surname, and may refer to
Service learning models in which girls learn healthy ways of supporting others while honoring themselves can help girls learn about healthy relationships. By helping others through service learning, girls may positively influence their identity development and self-concept, providing a framework for them to work in teams to provide tangible support to others. Service learning may reinforce pro-social skills, promote leadership development and enhance motivation. This process is therapeutic, providing them with a sense of accomplishment and serving as a self-esteem booster Booster - A data-parallel language.
"The Booster Language", E. Paalvast, TR PL 89-ITI-B-18, Inst voor Toegepaste Informatica TNO, Delft, 1989. .
Whether in prevention or intervention models, adolescent females can benefit from group interventions focusing on pro-social skill development, which fosters healthy relationships and interpersonal skills "Interpersonal skills" refers to mental and communicative algorithms applied during social communications and interactions in order to reach certain effects or results. The term "interpersonal skills" is used often in business contexts to refer to the measure of a person's ability . However, in order to fully understand potentially effective intervention, it is critical that program planners clearly recognize behaviors, such as trauma-related depression, sexual promiscuity Promiscuity
See also Profligacy.
constantly flits from one girl to another. [Aust. Drama: Schnitzler Anatol in Benét, 33]
promiscuous goddess of sensual love. [Gk. Myth. , anxiety, conduct disorder Conduct Disorder Definition
Conduct disorder (CD) is a behavioral and emotional disorder of childhood and adolescence. Children with conduct disorder act inappropriately, infringe on the rights of others, and violate the behavioral expectations of and aggression. Some adolescent females who experience sexual victimization as children may develop a negative coping mechanism, particularly during their adolescence, in which they behave in a sexually provocative manner. This negative, sexualized behavior may represent a negative coping mechanism that enables victimized adolescent females to attempt to control social interactions. Sexually provocative behaviors expressed by victimized adolescent females is a big barrier to service providers engaging in supportive interactions with adolescent females, particularly within the juvenile just ice system.
All relationship-based interventions should address womanhood development, healthy relationships and victimization recovery. Healthy relationships are explored and modeled in gender-specific services for adolescent females. In addition to examining histories of victimization, girls must be supported and nurtured so they can move beyond their victimization. Some adolescent females who find themselves in secure juvenile justice facilities hold onto their pain and are unable to fully appreciate the wide range of possibilities in the future.
To fully implement relationship-based programming, policy-makers and decision-makers must consider program implementation policies that support and reinforce the need for relationship-based programming. Adolescent females, particularly within secure juvenile facilities, must be supported and nurtured to address their relationship histories, confront their behaviors that have contributed to their incarceration Confinement in a jail or prison; imprisonment.
Police officers and other law enforcement officers are authorized by federal, state, and local lawmakers to arrest and confine persons suspected of crimes. The judicial system is authorized to confine persons convicted of crimes. , and assume responsibility for personal change that will move their lives forward and reduce the incidence of future involvement in the juvenile justice system. Direct care staff and administrators are confronted with building and maintaining supportive relationships, while not jeopardizing the security of both incarcerated incarcerated /in·car·cer·at·ed/ (in-kahr´ser-at?ed) imprisoned; constricted; subjected to incarceration.
Confined or trapped, as a hernia. female juvenile offenders and staff who provide services to them.
In order to effectively implement relationship-based interventions, three areas should receive focus: staff-to-girl ratios, staff development and rigorous research models investigating the development of female juvenile delinquency. First, appropriate staff-to-girl ratios must be fully considered. Small ratios of 1-to-6 provide increased opportunities for staff to connect with girls with traumatic histories. Small ratios with direct care staff can create a supportive learning community for positive female development. Regardless of the staff-to-girl ratio, staff who are charismatic, nurturing and provide clear, healthy boundaries can positively impact the girls' development. Higher staff-to-girl ratios limit the individual support staff can provide to girls, particularly in out-of-home placements. In addition to staff-girl ratios, the gender of staff working with girls is debated among researchers and practitioners. Given the prevalence of female-headed households, adolescent females can positively benefit f rom building healthy relationships with supportive male service providers. Moreover, male and female staff teams can model healthy male-female relationships within their interactions with adolescent females.
Staff development, such as gender-specific programming for adolescent females, is a critical tool for practitioners. Even experienced juvenile justice practitioners A Justice and Public Safety Practitioner is a local, state, tribal, or federal government employee who is in the practice of providing, administering or promoting justice and public safety services according to the laws, policies and practices of the government entity they serve. may have developed their expertise around boys and traditionally male intervention models. Staff must learn how to maintain structure while providing a supportive, nurturing environment that enables adolescent females to overcome the trauma of negative relationship histories. Issues of healthy boundaries, effective communication, team-building and female adolescent development are key elements in gender-specific programming.
Rigorous longitudinal models are needed to fully understand the impact of victimization on offending and nonof-fending females, according to researcher C. Widom. The shortage of research on female juvenile delinquency limits the development of gender-specific practices. Many jurisdictions are attempting to fully understand the need for gender-specific programming. Theoretical models such as the victim-to-offender theory represent promising frameworks in which the impact of victimization on adolescent females can be analyzed. In addition, research models that examine the concept of relational aggression are necessary to determine how these forms of aggression shape the experiences of girls within, and at risk for entering, the juvenile justice system.
Adolescent females need professionals to fully explore methodologies that seek to understand the possible antecedents to involvement in the juvenile justice system. While rigorous research designs are developed and implemented, adolescent females in the juvenile justice system need supportive practitioners to nurture NURTURE. The act of taking care of children and educating them: the right to the nurture of children generally belongs to the father till the child shall arrive at the age of fourteen years, and not longer. Till then, he is guardian by nurture. Co. Litt. 38 b. their future development and to help them accept responsibility for their actions while being motivated to end the cycle of victimization and criminal involvement. Despite the negative relationship histories that many adolescent females may have experienced in their short lifetimes, a critical role for service providers in the juvenile justice system is to support and model healthy relationships.
Sheila R. Peters, Ph.D., is chairwoman of the Psychology Department at Fisk University Fisk University, at Nashville, Tenn.; coeducational; founded 1865, opened 1866, and chartered 1867. It became a university in 1967. Fisk, long an outstanding African-American school, is open to all qualified students. in Nashville, Tenn.
Belknap, J. and K. Holsinger. 1998. An overview of delinquent girls. In Female offenders: Critical perspectives and effective interventions, ed. R.T. Zaplin, Gaithersburg, Md.: Aspen aspen, in botany
aspen: see willow.
Aspen, city, United States
Aspen (ăs`pən), city (1990 pop. 5,049), alt. 7,850 ft (2,390 m), seat of Pitkin co., S central Colo. .
Bergsmann, IR. 1989. The forgotten few: Juvenile female offenders. Federal Probation The Federal Probation Service or United States Probation Service is an agency that services the United States District Court in all 94 judicial federal districts nationwide and constitutes the community corrections arm of the Federal Court System. , 53(1):73-78.
Bowers, B.B. 1990. Traumas precipitating pre·cip·i·tate
v. pre·cip·i·tat·ed, pre·cip·i·tat·ing, pre·cip·i·tates
1. To throw from or as if from a great height; hurl downward: female delinquency: Implications for assessment, practice and policy. Child and Adolescent Social Work, 7(5):389-402.
Calhoun, G., J. Jurgens and F. Chen. 1993. The neophyte ne·o·phyte
1. A recent convert to a belief; a proselyte.
2. A beginner or novice: a neophyte at politics.
a. Roman Catholic Church A newly ordained priest. female delinquent: A review of the literature. Adolescence, 28(110) :461-471.
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Chesney-Lind, M. and R. Sheldon. 1992. Girls, delinquency and juvenile justice. Pacific Grove Pacific Grove, residential and resort city (1990 pop. 16,117), Monterey co., W central Calif., on a point where Monterey Bay meets the Pacific Ocean; inc. 1889. , Calif.: Brooks/Cole.
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Morgan, M. and S.R. Peters. 2000. Beyond gender barriers: Programming specifically for girls: Training curriculum for staff who work with girls. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (or OJJDP) is an office of the United States Department of Justice and a component of the Office of Justice Programs. .
Poe-Yamagata, and J.A. Butts. 1996. Female offenders in the juvenile justice system. Statistic statistic,
n a value or number that describes a series of quantitative observations or measures; a value calculated from a sample.
a numerical value calculated from a number of observations in order to summarize them. summary. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Widom, C. 2000. Childhood victimization and derailment derailment /de·rail·ment/ (de-ral´ment) disordered thought or speech characteristic of schizophrenia and marked by constant jumping from one topic to another before the first is fully realized. of girl women to the criminal the justice system. In Research on women and girls in the justice system. 27-39 Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.