Scholarship in criminology over the last few decades has often left little room for research and theory on how female offenders are perceived and handled in the criminal justice system. In truth, one out of every four juveniles arrested is female, and the population of women in prison has tripled in the past decade. Co-authored by Meda Chesney-Lind, one of the pioneers in the development of the feminist theoretical perspective in criminology, The Female Offender: Girls, Women and Crime, Third Edition redresses these issues.

In an engaging style, authors Meda Chesney-Lind and Lisa Pasko explore gender and cultural factors in women's lives that often precede criminal behavior and address the question of whether female offenders are more violent today than in the past. The authors provide a revealing look at how public discomfort with the idea of women as criminals significantly impacts the treatment received by this offender population. The text covers additional topics such the interaction of sexism, racism, and social class inequalities that results in an increase of female offenders, as well as the imprisonment binge that has resulted in an increasing number of girls and women being incarcerated.

The Juvenile Justice System and Girls
The juvenile justice system and girls

Juvenile Justice Counselor Is Guilty of Sexually Assaulting Two Girls

—New York Times, January 22, 2011

Girls Alleges Sex Abuse in Prison

—Chicago Tribune, October 9, 2007

Sex Abuse Alleged at 2nd Youth Jail—Agency Denies Cover-up after Guard Accused of Luring Girls with Drugs

—Dallas Morning News, March 2, 2007

Ironically, although the fathers of criminology had little interest in female delinquents during the early part of the 20th century, the same could not be said for the juvenile justice system. Indeed, the early history of the system reveals that concerns about girls' immoral conduct was at the center of what some have called the “childsaving movement” (Platt, 1969) that set up the juvenile justice system.

Half a century later, reforms ...

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