Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

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Author(s): The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

  • Samantha Ehrmann
  • Nina Hyland
  • Charles Puzzanchera

Published: April 2019

Report Intro/Brief:
“This bulletin presents statistics on girls in the juvenile justice system from three national data collections, covering their involvement from arrest through residential placement. It also provides an analysis of trends and case processing in addition to characteristics of the youth studied and their offenses.

In recent years, the involvement of girls in the juvenile justice system declined at a rate similar to that for boys As a result, the proportion of females at various stages of the juvenile justice system has changed very little since the mid-2000s.

  • Arrests involving girls decreased by more than half (53%) between 2006 and 2015, reaching their lowest point in three decades.
  • Delinquency cases and petitioned status cases involving girls also reached their lowest points since the early 1990s, decreasing 43% and 44%, respectively, from 2006 through 2015.
  • After falling 47% since 2006, the number of females in placement in 2015 was at its lowest level since at least 1997.
  • Since 2006, the proportion of females remained relatively constant for arrests, delinquency cases, petitioned status cases, and youth in placement.
  • Larceny-theft, simple assault, and disorderly conduct accounted for 50% of arrests and 56% of delinquency cases involving girls in 2015. Truancy offenses accounted for more than half (55%) of petitioned status offense cases involving females.
  • In 2015, delinquency cases involving girls were less likely to be petitioned, adjudicated, or result in out-of-home placement than cases involving boys.”

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