chapter  29
11 Pages

Girls and women in conflict with the law

WithKatherine Irwin, Lisa Pasko, Janet T. Davidson

This chapter focuses on the gendered pathways to offending and criminal justice involvement. It outlines prison, probation, parole and re-entry experiences of girls and women and also focuses on how racism complicates girls' and women's experiences before, during, and after doing time. Beyond the criminalization of girls' survival strategies, family trauma, chaos and marginalization are risk factors for female offending. Poverty, racial marginalization, limited job opportunities, volatile relationships, and prior sexual abuse often encourage female delinquency and crime. Girls and young women are often sanctioned and institutionalized for minor offenses, status offenses, and sexual misconduct. Girls and women on parole, compared with boys and men, face additional stigmas linked to their incarceration. While risk assessment is a good practice under the evidence-based model, as noted these instruments demonstrate the need to include more information about women's and girls' specific circumstances and needs. The chapter ends with an argument for gender responsive policies.