Most correctional programs, educational programs, assessment procedures, and curricula for juvenile youth have been developed on a knowledge base obtained from studies conducted with adolescent male offenders. However, research shows that females have unique needs. Programmatic changes are necessary in order to meet the needs of an individual with treating an adolescent female. Females aged 15 and over are twice as likely to suffer from depression than a male of the same age. Females attempt suicide more frequently than males. Girls have a lower level of resilience and are more likely to have lower self-esteem.
Research has shown that boys get into trouble more often by lashing out, getting into fights, carrying guns, setting fires, ect. Often their crimes look dangerous and cause fear.
Research has shown that adolescent female offenders experience more sexual and physical abuse than males; even at a higher frequency than males. One survey questionnaire study of adolescent offenders the above results on sexual abuse, rape, and physical abuse.
Female offenders tend to exhibit inappropriate levels and types of dependency. Lack of problem-solving skills, a reluctance to verbalize opinions and preference, and avoidance of challenges, success, and autonomy are some of the issues present.
Results from face to face interviews indicated females in the criminal justice system came from highly dysfunctional homes. Some of the issues found in such homes include: families with histories of mental illness, suicide, violence, and substance use.Females who come from such dysfunctional homes or are victims of childhood abuse tend to become involved with drugs and crime significantly earlier than boys with similar histories and girls without such histories.
Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family and community based treatment program that focuses on the entire world of chronic and violent juvenile offenders. The taking into consideration the youth’s home family, school, teachers, neighborhood, and friends.
Pathways is divided into three phases: Challenge to Change (trust building, open sharing, thoughts and relation to substance abuse and criminal activity, triggers); Commitment to Change (improve communication, play fair, avoid trouble, develop sense of responsibility and concern for others, change negative thinking, handle anger, guilt and depression); Ownership for lifestyle balance, build family and community support, healthy leisure).
Female Specific Training Melanie Ward
Adolescent Female Development• Increase in Depression• Attempt Suicide More Frequently• Lower Levels of Resilience• Lower Self-Esteem
Presenting ProblemFemales are entering the juvenile justice systemmore frequently and at younger ages
“Girls get into trouble more quietly, strikinginward through abusing drugs, prostituting,starving or even mutilating themselves, (Officeof Juvenile Justice and DelinquencyPrevention, 1998; Prescott, 1997; Girls Inc.,1997; Davis, Schoen, Greenburg, Desroches,& Abrams, 1997; Belknap, 1996).”
Sexual and Physical Abuse• Sexual Abuse – Adolescent female offenders: 64% – Adolescent male offenders: 13%• Rape – Adolescent female offenders: 81% – Adolescent male offenders: 0%• Physical Abuse – Adolescent female offenders: 42% – Adolescent male offenders: 3%
Dependency• Economic• Social• Emotional• Drug Addiction• Substance Abuse
Effects of Trauma and Abuse• Study of 4,800 females – Criminal justice supervision – Face to face interviews• Results – History of highly dysfunctional families with history of mental illness, suicide, violence, and substance use.
Risk Factors• Personal Characteristics• Familial Conditions• Drug Use• Peer Selection• School Attendance• School Difficulties
Treatment• Multi-systemic Therapy – Cognitive behavioral therapy – Behavior management training – Family therapy – Community psychology
Treatment (continued)• Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)• Motivational Interviewing• Pathways to Self Discovery & Change• Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
References• Carr, M. B., Vandiver, T. A. (2001). Risk and Protective Factors Among Youth Offenders. Health. Retrieved on February 15, 2012 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2248/is_143_36/ai_82535314/pg_4/?tag=content;col1• Messina, N. Life Course Effects of Trauma for Adolescent Offenders. Principal Investigator, UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs. Retrieved on February 14th, 2012 from http://gunston.gmu.edu/cebcp/Briefings/Messina.pdf• Miller, D., Trapani, C., Fejes-Mendoza, K., Eggleston, C., & Dwiggins, D. (1995). Adolescent Female Offenders: Unique Considerations. Retrieved on February 15, 2012 from http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5000314234• Nolen-HoeKsema, S. and Girgus, S. (1994). The Emergence of Gender Differences in Depression During Adolescence. Psychological Bulletin. DOI: 10.1037/0033-2909.115.3.424• Turning Point. Retrieved on 2/15/12 from http://turningpnt.org/best-practices.html• (2010). What is Multisystemic Therapy? Breaking The Cycle of Criminal Behavior. Retreived on 2/15/12 from http://www.mstservices.com/index.php