Juvenile Delinquent Victimization

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    • 00:00

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Juvenile Delinquent Victimization]

    • 00:10

      LISA J. PASKO: My own research focuses on female delinquents.And I have done a very comprehensive study of girls,looking at the very first reformatories.And when I say comprehensive study,I should actually say that I wanted to look at the waysthat correctional facilities, the veryearly correctional facilities bringing it upto the contemporary era, looking at ways that the correction

    • 00:33

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: facility deals with girls' sexuality issues,maybe the different racial stereotypes that theybring in to the work when they do work with girls.So I wanted to look at how things have changedover the years, over the decades,as well as look at differences now.Are Latina girls treated differentlythan Caucasian girls?Are African-American girls treated differentlythan Caucasian or Latina girls?

    • 00:54

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: And then girls who are sexual minorities--that they identify as lesbian, bisexual, questioning, queer,or transgendered-- how were they treated by the system as well?And how were they treated previously?In earlier years, how did the systemtreat such sexual identity issues?So I have studied that.And the way of studying it in the contemporary system

    • 01:15

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: is by going into the justice system,interviewing professionals about their attitudes, beliefs,and practices, and also interviewinggirls who are on the receiving end of that, saying,what is your experience.And what I found is that in the early years,the justice system literally madebeing homosexual illegal And alsomade it a pathology, meaning that girls were sick.

    • 01:37

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: And if they engaged in such behaviors, it was a crime.It was criminal.However, the correctional facilities tolerated it.They understood that women will come inand they might form relationshipswhile they're there.And maybe those relationships will stay with them when theyleave, and maybe they won't.So while in the early era, it was literally criminaland it was considered ill, there seemed

    • 01:59

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: to be not a whole lot of big deal about it.In the current era, our correctional facilitiesno longer consider homosexuality as justliterally a criminal offense.But they still consider it a pathology.So when girls are attracted to other girls,sometimes that behavior is considered

    • 02:20

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: psychiatrized or medicalized and part of the bigger pathology.It's tied to their sexual abuse.Or it's tied to a personality disorder.And it's rarely legitimated as a sexual identity,but rather as a pathology, a psychiatric condition,a psychological diagnosis that leads them to such behaviors.Girls themselves are very resistant to that label.

    • 02:41

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: So for girls that identify as sexual minoritiesin the system, they push for legitimacy.They work for validation.And they work against the psychiatrizationof such identity.In recent years, the Prison Rape Elimination Act,which is about 15 years old at this point,12 years old at this point, literally

    • 03:01

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: made it illegal for consensual sexto happen behind facility doors.And so girls have to be very carefulif they do engage in intimate relationships.And so one of the things that I would challenge studentswhen they learn about this stuff isto say how do you think critically

    • 03:22

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: about the field of psychiatry and psychologyin treating girls?How can we at one hand think critically about that, but thenon the other hand, also treat them and give the mental healthtreatment?How can we do both?How can you validate what they're saying as faras who they're attracted to, what their identity is,their sexual behaviors or sexual choices,

    • 03:44

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: and give them treatment, but listen to themand validate them, and then on the other hand,be critical about the psychiatric response?How can you do both things at one time?And it often can be perplexing because you don't necessarilywant to pathologize such behaviors.But that is what we do in psychology sometimes.So students, a lot of times, will

    • 04:04

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: try to work through those complexities.One of the things that I would talk about,that I like to talk about with my students,is to give an example of a girl who's moved through the systemand talk about the different challengesthat she's experienced.So in my research with girls, a lot of themhave a history of sex abuse.And some of them have a history of being sexually exploited,

    • 04:25

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: which means that they entered into prostitution at a prettyyoung age.And when I look at the different waysthat girls enter into prostitution, what they'rebringing into that, into the situation,is that we're talking about girls that are pretty lonely.They don't have a primary caretaker, that they themselvesmight be the primary caretaker in the family,meaning that they've been the ones that

    • 04:45

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: had to take care of the siblings while mom and dad struggledwith their own criminal involvementand their own justice involvementwith their own addiction, struggling with employment,et cetera, et cetera.And when they're pretty lonely in that way,they might gravitate toward behaviorsthat could capture them into commercial sexual exploitation

    • 05:05

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: such as hanging out at a 7-Eleven, such as runningaway and going to a homeless shelter,such as getting online.All of these things present as risks to girlsbecause we know that we will find, a lot of times, the olderguy who will be hanging out at the 7-Eleven,waiting for the lonely girl who might be truantand telling her what she wants to hear-- that she's pretty,

    • 05:26

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: that she's attractive, that she's desirable.And that can capture her into this relationship,a very intimate relationship, that leads to sex exploitation.Same thing for girls that might end up in the gang.Their role will be by being sexed into that gang.And they might become a sexual commodity,a sexual chattel for the gang.Girls who are online can get captured as well as

    • 05:47

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: being sold on such websites such as Craigslist.And we also know that homeless sheltersare the site where runaway youth think they're going to be safe.But actually, there are moles in homeless sheltersthat pimps use to recruit other girls when they come out.And when you see men hanging around homeless shelters,a lot of times, those men are trying

    • 06:07

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: to capture girls and sometimes young boysinto this prostitution experience.So in my research, I've met girlswho, once they're really in this kind of life,it's very hard to leave it because that'stheir source of intimacy.That's their source of comfort.This is what they end up knowing.Sometimes, it comes with the drug addiction.

    • 06:29

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: Sometimes, it comes with a family who's abandoned them.So when they get arrested for prostitution,the question becomes, what do we do.What do we do now?If we know that at the age 11 or 12 is when their sexexploitation started, is when their drug use, perhaps,if it wasn't already started, it kicked up,their substance abuse either startedor enhanced at that point, what do we do with those girls?

    • 06:52

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: Here's the questions of knowing this kindof comprehensive examination of bothour racial implications of how we do our justice system, aswell as the different dimensions of sexuality,from sexual identity to sex exploitation and prostitution,as well as issues around pregnanct-- right?Who do we assume is going to get pregnant?How do we manage pregnancy and birth control issues?

    • 07:13

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: What are the things that the system can do?And so this is the type of questionthat I would pose to students.What would be the best thing?How would you treat a girl who is a sexual minority?How can you make sure that the system doesculturally sensitive and culturally appropriateprogramming tries to eliminate racial biases and stereotypes?

    • 07:34

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: How do we create a system where wecan pay attention to girls' reproductive choicesand give them a certain amount of agencyin their sexual choices and behaviors,but at the same time, deal with a real social problem, whichis the spread of STDs and teenage pregnancy?And on the far end of those girlswho are marginalized, that perhaps experience all of what

    • 07:54

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: I'm saying to you, how do we deal with those girls whohave been sexually exploited at a young age,are in a very intimate and powerful and capturingrelationship with an older man that mightbe enhanced by drug abuse?How do we deal with her?How do we construct her?How do we frame her?How do we understand her?And what kind of treatment do we give?If I had an answer to all of those questions,

    • 08:16

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: there would be no need for any more books on Sage.Right?We would have the answers.It would all be done.I can tell you what we've done wrongbecause it's so much easier as a critical criminologistto come in and be critical.Treating girls as victims doesn't work.They hate the label.And why is that?It's a powerless label."Victim" is something somebody does to you."Offender" is something I can do.It seems more powerful and [INAUDIBLE].

    • 08:37

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: So even though we might have had justice systems saying when wedeal with girls who are prostituting,we want to treat you as a victim,the girls themselves say, no, don't.I don't want to hear it.I don't want that.It's powerless for me.So even when we've moved into whatwe think is a progressive position,it can be met with backlash by the very recipientsof such programming.

    • 08:58

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: As far as doing culturally aware programming,we don't do it well.When I have looked in my own research for justiceprofessionals, and I ask them, tellme an example of Latino-specific programming that you do,the best they can come up with isTaco Tuesday, which tacos aren't evenreally culturally specific.Right?So they have no awareness of it.

    • 09:21

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: They don't know what it means.For example, they can't talk about the importanceof respect or family or education or deferenceto authority, that being quiet, while itmight be framed as somebody being difficult-- you're notcomplying with us.You're not talking to us-- is actuallya form of respect in some cultures.That awareness is not met on the system.And such awareness should be used.Looking at sexual minority girls,

    • 09:42

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: there's been very good progressive movements,a lot of times by correctional staffwho are themselves sexual minoritiesand will advocate and be allies for those girls.But how we can do that balance between psychiatrizingtheir behaviors and treating themfor these reactive attachment disorders and personalitydisorders and actually validate and listento what's going on with them?That's a careful dance.

    • 10:04

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: And it's not an easy resolution between the two disciplines.And then, as far as getting girlsto desist from prostitution, getting them out,that is the question that I would leave studentswith because if they have answers to that,let's hear that because right now,our programming is very slow.We know that when we work with girls

    • 10:24

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: and help them move forward out of prostitution,they will desist when they are ready.Sometimes it means hitting rock bottom.Sometimes it means having a baby.Sometimes it means getting marriedand having a romantic relationship that's healthy.Sometimes it's an educational opportunitythe thought they would never get.But the more that we incarcerate them and create

    • 10:44

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: the criminal record, and especially if we add a drugoffense to it, the more they're goingto be marginalized because the fewer opportunitiesthey're going to be able to exercise as far as housing,Medicaid, and college.They will not be able to go to college thenif they have such drug offenses on their records.So to think about the kind of experienceswe want to give girls, we have to make

    • 11:05

      LISA J. PASKO [continued]: sure that we don't do things as a permanent collateralconsequence as well.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Juvenile Delinquent Victimization

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Unique ID: bd-crim-case-lpcs-AA04877


Dr. Lisa Pasko describes her research into female juvenile offenders and the factors that lead them to offend, such as sexual exploitation and a lack of parental support. Her research shows that treating these girls as victims does not work, and she promotes changing to an empowerment-based system.

SAGE Video Cases
Juvenile Delinquent Victimization

Dr. Lisa Pasko describes her research into female juvenile offenders and the factors that lead them to offend, such as sexual exploitation and a lack of parental support. Her research shows that treating these girls as victims does not work, and she promotes changing to an empowerment-based system.

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