From the Boston College Law School, this faculty paper by Francine T. Sherman discusses the history of juvenile justice policy for girls and considers the impact on girls of current trends toward developmentally centered and data-driven juvenile justice. As Sherman states, “The majority of girls in the system are there for status and misdemeanor offenses and violations of probation. Both the behaviors that result in girls’ arrests and the structural mechanisms that pull them into the justice system for those behaviors relate to child development. Girls’ behaviors should be understood ecologically, as reactions to and in tension with the concentric circles of family, community, and society in girls’ lives, and it is that ecological framing that provides more nuanced and developmentally informed responses”.
Sections of this article include: the history of girls and juvenile justice; child development, juvenile justice policy, and girls; what It means for girls; trauma; domestic violence; commercial sexual exploitation; and using data in juvenile justice.