Girls’ issues come to the fore.
The issues facing girls and young women in the justice system gained attention in 2017.
- The most recent data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) shows that, in 2015, 41 percent of girls in placement facilities and 46 percent of girls in detention facilities were there for public order offenses, status offenses, and technical violations, compared to 32 percent and 36 percent of boys, respectively.
- In 2017, five grantees of a 2016 U.S. Department of Justice initiative received technical assistance from the National Girls Initiative (NGI). The goal of NGI is “to drive new resources to state, local, and tribal efforts to address girls’ needs, and to share information on evidence-based practices that are trauma-informed and gender and culturally responsive. NGI also works to elevate the voices of girls and their families as partners in reforming the juvenile justice system.”
- Grounded in the success of local Young Women’s Initiatives like #SheWillBe in New York City, the National Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives, supported by eight independent women’s foundations, was formed to leverage resources in order to address barriers faced by low-income women and girls, particularly those of color.
- In 2017, celebrities and advocates renewed attention to the case of Cyntoia Brown, who was 16—and under the forcible control of an adult pimp—when she killed a 43-year-old man who had solicited her for sex and whom she feared was going to shoot her. Despite her age, status as a victim of trafficking, and diagnosed fetal alcohol syndrome, Brown received a life sentence in 2006 and is seeking parole and appealing her case.
- Bresha Meadows, who was 14 when she fatally shot her father in 2016 after what she, her mother, and a cousin who had lived with the family described as a cycle of persistent domestic abuse, pleaded true to involuntary manslaughter, raising concerns about how the justice system attends to the intersections of trauma, sexual and domestic violence, and self-defense.