Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Home page

Gender Specific Services for Girls

Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

In 2008 a group of juvenile justice practitioners and service providers began discussing pathways for girls into the juvenile justice system and evidence based treatment options for gender responsive services in Washington State. Since its initial meeting, the Justice for Girls Coalition of Washington has surveyed professionals throughout the juvenile justice system to determine what training practitioners and administrators would like in order to improve gender responsive services for girls.

They are currently working with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to bring in training for gender responsive core processes.

The Coalition also published a booklet - Working with Girls in the Juvenile Justice System, A guidebook for Practitioners, that has been widely distributed around the state.


In 2010, females accounted for 30.5 percent of the total juvenile arrests, a slight increase(1.6 percent) from 30.0 percent of total juvenile arrests in 2009. From 2000 to 2010, the percentage of total arrests increased by approximately 11 percent for girls, while in comparison the percentage of total arrests for boys decreased by 4 percent. The percentage of total juvenile arrests by females has ranged from 27.5 to 30.5 percent annually from 2000 to 2010.

 

During 2010 females accounted for approximately:

  • 31 percent of all juvenile arrests.
  • 28 percent of all juvenile arrests for drug and alcohol offenses
  • 33 percent of all juvenile arrests for property offenses
  • 18 percent of all juvenile arrests for violent offenses
  • 31 percent of all juvenile arrests for “all other” offenses

 

Girls accounted for 33 percent of the juvenile arrests for property offenses in 2010, a slight increase from 32 percent of the juvenile arrests for property offenses in 2009. Girls represented approximately 45 percent of all juvenile arrests for larceny (theft) in 2010.

 

Girls accounted for 28.4 percent of the total juvenile arrests for drug and alcohol offenses in 2010, little change from 28.9 percent in 2009. Also, there was little change in the percentage of total arrests for “all other offenses” for females from 2009 to 2010 (from 30.4 to 30.6 percent of total juvenile arrests). The percentage of total juvenile arrests for violent crimes by girls increased by 11 percent from 2009 to 2010 (from 16.4 to 18.2 percent of total juvenile violent crimes).

 

In 2010, girls represented approximately: 38 percent of the arrests for “other assaults”; 45 percent of the juvenile arrests for larceny-theft; 83 percent of the total juvenile arrests for prostitution and commercial vice; 30 percent of the total juvenile arrests for disorderly conduct; and 36 percent of juvenile arrests for liquor law violations.

 

Thus, while the total number of juvenile arrests for committing crimes has decreased substantially over the past ten years (from 47,763 in 2000 to 25,772 arrests in 2010—a 46 percent decrease in the number of arrests), the female juvenile arrest trend differs from the male trend (the number of juvenile arrests for boys decreased by 48 percent from 2000 to 2010, compared to a 40 percent decrease for girls).

 

This is consistent with the national trend in the rise in the proportion of females entering the juvenile justice system—“According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from 1991 to 2000, arrests of girls increased more (or decreased less) than arrests of boys for most types of offenses. By 2004, girls accounted for 30 percent of all juvenile arrests. However, questions remain about whether these trends reflect an actual increase in girls’ delinquency or changes in societal responses to girls’ behavior. To find answers to these questions, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention convened the Girls Study Group to establish a theoretical and empirical foundation to guide the development, testing, and dissemination of strategies to reduce or prevent girls’ involvement in delinquency and violence.” An October 2008 OJJDP bulletin on findings from the Girls Study Group indicates that arrest laws and changes in law enforcement policy appear to have had more of an impact on arrest rates than changes in girls’ behavior.



Gender Specific Links

Girls Policy Briefs