The Delinquent Girl

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Edited by Margaret A. Zahn
Temple University Press
352 pages. $54.50.

Among all juveniles arrested for serious crimes in 2006, an unprecedented 29 percent were girls. In this detailed analysis of girls’ delinquency, funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, criminologists, sociologists and psychologists shed light on girls in the American juvenile justice system and recommend prevention and intervention strategies.

Reviews of the research show the nature of female delinquency and the justice system’s responses. Chapters cover mainstream and feminist theories, as well as the psychological and social factors that affect girls’ behavior. In chapters on violence and gangs, girls’ voices verify violent responses as reactions to sexual abuse or male aggression, being forced to fulfill submissive female roles, competing for male attention, or being marginalized. The chapter about girls’ treatment in the juvenile justice system concludes that the rise in violence is exaggerated. Resources to answer real needs are lacking, so minor crimes are relabeled as serious in order to confine girls.

This important reference can enlighten everyone working with the juvenile justice system, as well as anyone who cares about adolescent girls. (800) 621-2736,