Founded on the self-contradicting idea of coercive welfare, the juvenile justice system has always claimed commitment to rehabilitative and child protection goals. This first chapter introduces the current study’s analytical lens, by reviewing the historically persistent gaps between speech and practice, intentions and actual performance, and theory and reality in juvenile corrections, with special emphasis on institutions and practices targeting female offenders. A relatively new idea juvenile corrections have embraced today, in theory, is that system-involved girls’ welfare is best served through gendered justice – a kind of justice that employs and effects empowerment. Grounded in feminist scholarship, this idea has garnered popularity and enthusiastic legal and academic support in the US, Canada, the UK, and elsewhere. This chapter discusses the concept of gendered justice, places it within the inherent contradictions in which the juvenile justice system has trafficked since its inception, and explains how the current study contrasts its promise of empowerment with the lived experiences of detained girls.