Girls and Delinquency: Different From Boys?

Essay by rsubarbieCollege, UndergraduateB+, April 2009

download word file, 9 pages 0.0

To date the study of juvenile delinquency has focused mainly on the conduct disorders, pathways, and aggression in males while relatively little to no attention has been paid to the females who have committed and continue to commit delinquent acts (Hoyt & Scherer, 1998). The majority of juvenile arrests are male, which is one of the primary reasons that a great deal of today's research has focused on the male population (Zahn, Hawkins, Chiancone, & Whitworth, 2008). Do females follow the same pathways as males in delinquency, do they suffer the same conduct disorders, and is their aggression caused by the same factors as males?In the 1990's a major surge of girls' arrests brought the subject of female juvenile delinquents and the crimes that they commit to the country's attention. Girls' arrest rates for some crimes increased faster than those for boys (Zahn, Hawkins, Chiancone, & Whitworth, 2008). Delinquency and youth violence have been growing by epidemic proportions over the years.

In fact from 1983 to 1993, juvenile manslaughter and murder arrests actually leaped by 128% and from 1986 to 1995, violent crime arrests among juveniles rose 67%. This escalation in violent crimes by adolescents has raised a number of great concerns for and about the number of juveniles victimized by youth violence and has fueled anxieties about the future crime wave as these juvenile delinquents mature into adult criminals (Hoyt & Scherer, 1998).

Juvenile delinquency can and does become a pathway which leads to adult offending. The juvenile justice field is struggling to understand what the best way to respond to the needs of these girls that are entering the system are (Zahn, Hawkins, Chiancone, & Whitworth, 2008). One of the most consistent findings in criminology is that for almost every offense that females engage in, there is far...