Changing Policy in San Francisco: Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

By Schaffner, Laurie; Shick, Shelley et al. | Social Justice, Winter 1997 | Go to article overview

Changing Policy in San Francisco: Girls in the Juvenile Justice System


Schaffner, Laurie, Shick, Shelley, Stein, Nancy, Social Justice


Angela, 16 years old, was arrested for possession of drugs. She experienced abuse as a child, abandonment by her mother, addiction to drugs, the suicide of a friend, violence, and homelessness. While awaiting disposition of her case and placement in a suitable program, her multiple needs were not addressed and she ended up on her own. During this time, she was raped and relapsed into drug use.

Preface

Developing this project on girls in the juvenile justice system began in 1995 and was originally coordinated by Andrea Shorter of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, a research and policy organization that also runs several programs for juvenile and adult offenders.(1) As youth advocates, the authors came together over our concern with the circumstances of girls in the San Francisco juvenile justice system. Most of us had worked with girls who were incarcerated, which motivated us to conduct this study. We also were aware that an excellent survey of resources for girls had been carried out by the Come into the Sun Coalition, but that the Coalition's extensive recommendations had not been implemented. We hoped that this study would deepen that report's contribution and would be a useful organizing tool to change how the juvenile justice system works with girls.

One of the first issues we grappled with was what it means to focus on girls. The needs of adolescent girls pose a challenge for the juvenile justice system, which was designed by men and has been structured on the fact that boys make up a majority of those in the system. We also did not want to take away from the concerns that young men of color are increasingly being incarcerated at an unprecedented rate. However, we felt that in the passion to find solutions to get boys out of the system, the fact that more and more girls were coming into the system was being ignored.

Our initial decision to focus on the Out-of-Home Placement (OOHP)(2) unit of San Francisco's Juvenile Probation Department was the result of several factors. The status of girls in the system was relatively unstudied; we envisioned this study as one of a series, and other aspects of girls' involvement would be researched in the future. OOHP provided a manageable venue to understand the invisibility of girls in the system and initial interviews with two of the people who ran this division highlighted a multitude of problems in this area relating to the lack of services for girls.

In addition, San Francisco's recently elected mayor, Willie Brown, had been pressuring the probation department to decrease the rate of incarcerating youth in juvenile hall. Reducing the number of youth who were locked up would necessitate more emphasis on preventive programs and alternatives to incarceration. Thus, that there are fewer programs for girls and many of their needs are not met in existing programs were immediate causes for concern.

Once this policy direction was identified as a starting place, our primary goal was to provide a vehicle through which the experiences and voices of girls would be heard. Our recommendations at the end of the study were developed from the suggestions made by the girls we interviewed, as well as by the people who work with them.

Too often policymakers exclude the people most affected by the decisions they make and research is not always used to create social change. We wanted to take a different approach - to give a voice to girls who have been invisible in the juvenile justice system. Our hope was that this study would not merely be published, but that it would lead to positive changes in the system itself. Therefore, we included recommendations that could form the basis for action if we were able to get them into the most effective hands. As will be seen below, this study has had an impact beyond our deepest expectations.

Introduction

Discussion about juvenile crime and delinquency usually presumes that offenders are boys. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Changing Policy in San Francisco: Girls in the Juvenile Justice System
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.