Boys who commit serious crimes are the focus of the juvenile justice system, but girls are actually at higher risk than boys for venturing down the wrong path, says ABC News. That’s because the problems girls face are very different from those confronting males, and the justice system is failing to address that, says Stephen Gavazzi, professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University and co-author of a study to be published in the journal Criminal Justice and Behavior.
Gavazzi and colleagues have been following 305 juveniles who were detained by authorities in an effort to assess their chances of turning their lives around. “The work we’ve been doing over the years had led us to believe there were some profound differences between girls and boys that were hitting the juvenile justice system,” Gavazzi says. “Girls and boys were getting arrested and detained for very different things.” Boys were far more likely to be arrested because of traditional criminal behavior, like taking someone else’s car for a joy ride or stealing a six pack or punching another kid’s lights out. Girls were far more likely to be detained because of behavior that wouldn’t be considered a crime if they were adults. That includes running away from home, serious trouble with a parent or promiscuity.