Violent Adolescent Females

By Peters, Sheila R.; Peters, Sharon D. | Corrections Today, June 1998 | Go to article overview

Violent Adolescent Females


Peters, Sheila R., Peters, Sharon D., Corrections Today


"Female gangsters" or "eight ball chicks" are buzzwords used by the media to describe the instigators of and participants in the perceived rise in adolescent female violence. These females are increasingly portrayed as ruthless and immoral, and their offenses often are compared to the violent crimes of their male counterparts. A recent news special on gangs in California depicted adolescent females not only as violent gang members but as leaders in predominantly male gangs. These images support the notion that female juvenile violence is on the rise.

In the early 1990s, there was a resurgence of girls, often girls of color, engaging in nontraditional, masculine behavior - notably joining gangs, carrying guns and fighting with other girls. Some researchers suggest that the increase has been dramatic, citing statistical data which indicates that female juvenile arrests for violent crimes increased 125 percent between 1985 and 1994. In an article in The New York Times, F.R. Lee highlighted localities that have identified significant increases in felony arrests of adolescent females, including New York City - a 48 percent increase from 1986 to 1990; New Jersey - a 67 percent increase between 1980 and 1990; and Connecticut - a 62 percent increase from 1986 through 1990.

Other researchers suggest that the increase is not as dramatic as projected by the media and governmental analyses. Girls Inc., a youth advocacy group, asserts that the absolute numbers of girls arrested for violent crimes are so small that any numerical change will correspond to a large percentage change. Others caution that the reclassification of some status offenses as violent offenses is a possible explanation for a portion of the perceived increase.

An analysis of gender differences in juveniles' arrests between 1980 and 1995 in the United States indicated that although the female juvenile portion of the total arrest rate increased by about 4 percent during this time period, and the girls' portion of aggravated assault increased by 5 percent, their proportion of arrests for murder or nonnegligent manslaughter decreased by 2 percent and their portion of forcible rape arrests has remained constant at 2 percent.

Shift Toward Violence

The female percentage of the juvenile justice population has remained constant over a period of time; what is changing in conjunction with the numbers are the types of crimes for which females are arrested and incarcerated. Females historically have come into contact with the system primarily for status offenses (those offenses which are crimes only by virtue of the age of the offender, such as running away, incorrigibility, etc.). Females still are overrepresented in the juvenile system due to status offenses, but a shift toward violent crimes is evident. The origin and reasons for this apparent shift have not fully been identified.

The most common violent offenses for which juvenile females are arrested are aggravated assault and robbery. The arrest rates for these offenses increased 62 percent and 43 percent, respectively, between 1989 and 1993. Additional research suggests ethnic variation in offending behavior may account in part for these shifts in the commission of violent offenses, particularly for ethnic minority populations who are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system. Researcher Sharon Tracy found that African-American adolescent females commit more robberies and simple assaults than Caucasian females. Those Caucasian females who do engage in serious and violent crime, however, demonstrate this pattern at an earlier age than their ethnic minority counterparts.

Factors precipitating the increase in violent offending by adolescent females are numerous and complex. While available research examining these factors is virtually nonexistent, there is substantially more research examining adolescent females as the victims of violence and abuse. Dr. Ruth Wells reported that adolescent females are four times more likely than adolescent males to be physically and/or verbally abused. …

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

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Violent Adolescent Females
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.