Girls as Juvenile Delinquents2

Girls as Juvenile Delinquents2

Female involvement in the juvenile justice system continues to rise at the same time that male juvenile involvement declines. One in four juvenile arrests in 1996 was of a female, with violent crime arrests increasing 25 percent between 1992 and 1996. Overall, increases in arrests between 1992 and 1996 were greater for juvenile females than juvenile males in most offense categories. It is important to learn more about why and how girls commit crime and how to intervene effectively to prevent and treat female juvenile delinquency. OJJDP has responded by launching a multilevel approach that includes reviewing how States are dealing with female juvenile offenders, developing an inventory of best practices, producing a prototype training curriculum, and implementing a variety of program development activities. Several projects supported by the Research Division have components that focus on girls, including the Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency. The Research Division anticipates supporting additional research on female juvenile delinquency and evaluations of effective programs for girls.


In 1997, there were over a half a million arrests of juvenile girls in the United States. Although the great majority of juvenile crimes are committed by boys, arrests of girls have sharply risen in the last decade. While there is dispute as to whether shifts represent changes in girls' behavior or changes in arrest patterns, it is undeniable that girls are becoming more visibly present within the juvenile justice system.

Arrests Of Girls

  • In 1997 260f juvenile arrests were of girls. Over a third of these girls were under age 15.
  • In 1997 over half (58%) of the arrests for runaways were of girls.
  • Between 1993 and 1997, arrests of boys for violent offenses declined by 9%, while those for girls increased by 12%. Aggravated...

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