As the number of girls being charged with serious crimes increases, juvenile justice officials are looking for ways to offer programs in court and in correctional facilities that better meet their needs, says USA Today. “They (girls) were ignored for a long time,” Delaware Family Court Judge Barbara Crowell says. “We treated them as if there were no gender issues.” A video training program is trying to change that. It features Delaware girls in a correctional facility explaining the kind of help they need.
“You Can’t Just Paint It Pink” is sent to any court, government agency, and social-service organization nationwide that requests it, says Joni Silverstein of the Delaware Girls Initiative, which produced the video and training manual released this week. Its focus, according to Denise Bray, a Florida consultant who has been working with the group since its inception five years ago, is on teaching social workers, judges and lawyers how to untangle the complex emotional issues that girls bring to the system. The title comes from Bray’s oft-repeated comment that “You can’t paint the walls pink and call it a girls program,” meaning that girls need different kinds of help than what the system offers boys. The number of girls charged with murder, robbery, assault, and other violent crimes has more than tripled, from 36,300 in 1985 to about 121,000 in 2007, says the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.