Study Finds a Gender Gap in Juvenile Justice Incarceration

espinosa_erinNew research led by Erin Espinosa, a research associate in the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health of the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin, finds a large gender gap in sentencing in the juvenile justice system. Dr. Espinosa examined the records of more than 5,000 youths in three large urban counties in Texas. She found that on average girls were confined in juvenile justice facilities longer than young males.

Dr. Espinosa’s study found that girls were held in pretrial detention five days longer on average than boys despite the fact that their offenses tended to be less serious. Females were released from confinement at a much slower pace than males. Dr. Espinosa stated that “we now know that not only are girls more likely to be removed from their home and placed in institutional care for violations of court orders than boys, but once there they are also likely to serve longer sentences.”

Dr. Espinosa is a graduate of Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, where she majored in criminal justice and psychology. She holds a master of public administration degree from Angelo State and a Ph.D. in juvenile justice from Prairie View A&M University in Texas.

The article, “The Influence of Gender and Traumatic Experiences on Length of Time Served in Juvenile Justice Settings,” was published on the website of the journal Criminal Justice and Behavior. It may be accessed here.


Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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