Girls and Drug Offenses


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Girls and Drug Offenses

Girls' arrests, admissions to detention, and commitments to corrections were less likely than boys to be for drug offenses.

Girls committed fewer drug offenses than boys. According to the IDHS Illinois Youth Survey, girls used cannabis less often than boys, and while their proportion of arrests for cannabis were lower, their proportion of detention admissions for cannabis offenses were higher than boys'. Girls' arrests were also more likely than boys' to be for drug paraphernalia. Still, drug offenses accounted for a small proportion of girls' overall juvenile justice system involvement (Table 8).

Table 7
Arrests, detention admissions, and IDOC commitments for drug offenses, 2007*

Drug offense type Arrest Detention Corrections*
Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys
Controlled substances 124
(24%)
1,865
(33%)
87
(69%)
1,065
(80%)
4
(80%)
163
(85%)
Cannabis 277
(53%)
3,276
(59%)
26
(21%)
217
(16%)
0
(0%)
24
(12%)
Drug paraphernalia 115
(22%)
417
(7%)
13
(10%)
45
(3%)
0
(0%)
4
(2%)
Other drug 8
(1%)
12
(0.2%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
1
(20%)
1
(0.5%)
Total drug 524
(100%)
5,570
(100%)
126
(100%)
1,327
(100%)
5
(100%)
192
(100%)

* Corrections data for 2007 were unavailable; FY04 was used.
Source: Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc datasets, Juvenile Monitoring Information System, and Illinois Department of Corrections

Arrests for drug offenses

Girls' arrests are less likely to be for drug offenses than boys'. Nine percent of juveniles arrested for drug offenses in 2007 were girls (n=524) and 91 percent were boys (n=5,570). Drug arrests accounted for 5 percent of all female juvenile arrests and 15 percent of all male juvenile arrests.

Reporting misdemeanor arrests for juveniles to CHRI by law enforcement is voluntary. As a result, arrest offense class disparities are a conservative estimate. Girls had a higher proportion of their drug arrests for misdemeanors than boys (Figure 21). In 2007, their proportion of misdemeanors was 59 percent (n=311), compared to 42 percent for boys (n=2,317). This proportion decreased 12 percent from 2006 to 2007, while the boys' proportion decreased 25 percent.

Figure 21
Proportion of drug arrests by offense class within gender, 2002-2007

Line Chart: 4 Lines (Female Felony, Female Misdemeanor, Male Felony, Male Misdemeanor)

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Female felony ~54% ~33% ~33% ~34% ~33% 42%
Female misdemeanor ~45% ~66% ~67% ~65% ~67% 59%
Male felony ~69% ~42% ~43% ~43% ~44% 59%
Male misdemeanor ~32% ~58% ~57% ~57% ~56% 42%

Source: Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc datasets

Statistical analyses, discussed later in this report, found significant differences in the proportion of misdemeanor drug arrests between boys and girls.

Detention admissions for drug offenses

Girls' admissions to detention were less likely than boys' to be for drug offenses. However, the proportion of admissions for drugs increased slightly for girls while it has decreased for boys.

Girls accounted for 9 percent of drug admissions to juvenile detention in 2007, and 5 percent of girls' detention admissions were for drugs (n=126). Girls' admissions for drug offenses increased 18 percent from 2002 to 2007. Boys' drug offense admissions decreased 26 percent during that time period, though their proportion began increasing in 2005. Figure 22 depicts the proportion of detention admissions for drug offenses by gender from 2002 to 2007.

Figure 22
Proportion of detention admissions for drug offenses by gender, 2002-2007

Line Chart: 2 Lines (Boys, Girls) Percent of admissions by gender

Percent of admissions by gender 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Boys ~14% ~7% ~7% ~7% ~9% ~11%
Girls ~4% ~4% ~4% ~4% ~5% 5%

Source: Juvenile Monitoring Information System

For girls and boys, controlled substance offenses constituted the largest proportion of drug admissions. Sixty-nine percent of girls' drug offense admissions were for controlled substances (n=87) and possession of a controlled substance accounted for 68 percent of their drug offense admissions (n=86).

Comparatively, 80 percent of drug detention admissions among boys were for controlled substances (n=1,065) and possession of a controlled substance accounted for 75 percent of their total drug admissions (n=1,002).

Commitments to corrections for drug offenses

In FY04, the proportion of girls' commitments to corrections for drugs was small-only five girls were committed for drug offenses (3 percent). Boys had a higher proportion of their overall commitments to IDOC for drugs-12 percent of admissions (n=192).

Most drug offense commitments were for felony offenses. Sixty percent of girls' drug commitments (n=3) and 94 percent of boys' drug commitments were for felonies (n=181). Conversely, 40 percent of girls' drug commitments were for misdemeanors (n=2), compared to only 6 percent of boys' drug offense commitments (n=11).

Gender differences were apparent with respect to drug offenses, with few girls committed to IDOC for them. While girls had a higher proportion of their commitments for misdemeanor offenses than boys, commitment numbers for girls were too small to draw definitive conclusions.


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