A critical examination of girls' violence and juvenile justice
This chapter examines the contemporary legal response to girls' violence. It looks at girls' violent and aggressive activities from an historical perspective, teasing out differences between girls' self-reports of violence from their official arrests and placing such acts of violence within its patriarchal context. The chapter also looks at policy and law enforcement changes that have affected girls' violent offense arrests, namely the relabeling and up-criming of girls' status offenses as assault. It utilizes a case study in girls' violence to underscore the motivations, context, and institutional response to such behavior. Since the 1990s, juvenile justice practitioners, policy makers, and scholars have expressed concern over girls' increasing use of violence. The content of gender-specific programs formed within the juvenile justice system requires special attention, since the family court has a long history of paternalism and policing of girls' behavior without sensitive, nuanced, girl-centered approaches. The chapter concludes with policy recommendations.