Girls and Juvenile-Specific Offenses


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Girls and Juvenile-Specific Offenses

Girls' arrests, admissions to detention, and commitments to corrections were more likely than boys' to be for running away and requiring authoritative intervention.

Status offenses are offenses that are illegal due to the age of the offender and would not be criminal if committed by an adult. Curfew violations, truancy, and running away are examples of status offenses. Research has shown that girls have more involvement with the juvenile justice system for status offenses, particularly running away and incorrigibility.(18)

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act requires that states deinstitutionalize status offenders. Therefore, each juvenile detained or incarcerated for a status offense not in violation of a court order is in violation of the Act.

Table 12 shows the number and proportion of boys and girls arrested, detained, and incarcerated for status offenses by type in 2007.

Table 12
Arrests, detention admissions, and IDOC commitments for status offenses by gender, 2007*

Status offense Type Arrest Detention Corrections*
Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys
Curfew 81
(17%)
195
(25%)
3
(7%)
4
(10%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
Possession or consumption
of liquor by minor
296
(63%)
503
(64%)
21
(47%)
18
(46%)
2
(100%)
4
(100%)
Runaway 14
(3%)
10
(1%)
14
(31%)
3
(8%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
Total status 470
(100%)
783
(100%)
45
(100%)
39
(100%)
2
(100%)
4
(100%)

* Corrections data for 2005 through 2007 were unavailable; 2004 was used.
Source: Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc datasets, Juvenile Monitoring Information System, and Illinois Department of Corrections

Arrests for status offenses

Girls' arrests were more likely to be for status offenses than boys, particularly for running away and requiring authoritative intervention. However, status offenses are all misdemeanors or local ordinance violations, and these types of offenses are not required to be reported to CHRI. As a result, the number of juveniles arrested for status offenses are likely underreported.

Based on, therefore, limited data, girls had a higher proportion of their arrests for status offenses than boys, at 5 percent (n=478) and 2 percent (n=799), respectively. Figure 25 shows the proportion of arrests for status offenses for boys and girls from 2002 to 2007.

Figure 25
Proportion of arrests for status offenses by gender, 2002-2007

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

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Girls ~3% ~3% ~4% ~4% ~4% ~5%
Boys ~2% ~2% ~2% ~2% ~2% ~2%

Source: Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc datasets

Sixty-three percent of girls' status arrests (n=296) and 64 percent of boys' status arrests (n=503) were for possession of liquor by a minor. Girls had a higher proportion of their status arrests for running away (n=14, or 3 percent) than boys (n=10, or 1 percent). Girls' arrests were also more likely to be as minors requiring authoritative intervention (n=77, or 16 percent) than boys' (n=61, or 8 percent). Table 13 depicts status offense arrests for boys and girls in 2007. In the years examined, all status offense classes were misdemeanor, petty, or unclassified.

Table 13
Status offense arrests by type and gender, 2007

Status Type Offense Girls Boys
Total Percent Total Percent
Curfew 81 17.2% 195 24.9%
Habitual juvenile offender 0 0.0% 1 0.1%
Minor requiring authoritative intervention (MRAI) 77 16.4% 61 7.8%
Possession of liquor by a minor 296 63.0% 503 64.2%
Runaway 14 3.0% 10 1.3%
Truant in need of supervision 2 0.4% 11 1.4%
Zero tolerance* 0 0.0% 2 0.3%
Total 470 100% 783 100%

Source: Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc datasets
* Zero tolerance refers to a minor having a blood-alcohol content (b.a.c.) level above 0. However, if a juvenile has a b.a.c. above the legal limit, they will be charged with a DUI. Zero tolerance refers only to those with a b.a.c. below the legal limit.

A minor requiring authoritative intervention (MRAI) is a youth under 18 years of age that is absent from their home without consent of a guardian, or is beyond the control of a guardian. Ninety-two percent of unclassifiable status offenses were minors requiring authoritative intervention. In 2007, girls' arrests (n=77) were more likely than boys' (n=61) to be for being a minor requiring authoritative intervention.

Of those misdemeanor and ordinance arrests that were reported to the CHRI system, girls' arrests were more often for less serious misdemeanor classes. Class A misdemeanors, the most serious misdemeanor class, accounted for 50 percent of girls' (n=240) and 54 percent of boys' (n=433) status offense arrests. Eleven percent of girls' (n=55) and 9 percent of boys' (n=72) status offense arrests were class C misdemeanors.

However, a lower proportion of girls' arrests were for petty offenses (n=102, or 21 percent) than boys (n=221, or 28 percent). Figure 26 depicts the proportion of status offense arrests by offense class and gender for 2007.

Figure 26
Proportion of status offense arrests by offense class and gender, 2007

Clustered Chart: Girls vs Boys & Class A, Class C, Petty, Unclassifiable - Percent of arrests by gender

Class A Class C Petty Unclassifiable
Girls ~50% ~11% ~21% ~17%
Boys ~55% ~9% ~28% ~9%

Source: Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc datasets

Detention admissions for status offenses

Girls' detention admissions were somewhat more likely to be for status offenses than boys. In 2007, 2 percent of girls' detention admissions were for status offenses (n=45), compared to only 0.3 percent of boys (n=39). Figure 27 shows the proportion of girls' and boys' detention admissions for status offenses from 2002 to 2007.

Figure 27
Proportion of detention admissions for status offenses by gender, 2002-2007

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

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Girls ~3.0% ~3.2% ~2.1% ~1.3% ~2.0% ~1.8%
Boys ~0.8% ~1.0% ~0.9% ~0.8% ~0.7% ~0.3%

Source: Juvenile Monitoring Information System

Girls' rates of detention admissions for status offenses decreased similarly to the decrease for boys during the period examined. Girls' rates decreased 56 percent, from 16 admissions for every 100,000 girls age 10 to 16 in 2002 to seven in 2007. The boys' rates decreased 60 percent, from 15 in 2002 to six in 2007.

Alcohol-related status offenses, such as possession and consumption of alcohol, were the most common status offense leading to detention admission. In 2007, 47 percent of girls' (n=21) and 46 percent of boys' (n=18) admissions to detention for status offenses were alcohol-related.

In 2007, 31 percent of girls' status offense admissions to detention were for running away from home (n=14), compared to only 8 percent of boys' (n=3). Sixteen percent of girls' (n=7) status offense admissions were for truancy, compared to 36 percent of boys' (n=14). Table 14 shows the number and proportion of status offense detention admissions by type and gender in 2007.

Table 14
Status offense detention admissions, 2007

Year Girls Boys
Total Percent Total Percent
Alcohol (possession & consumption) 21 46.7% 18 46.2%
Curfew 3 6.7% 4 10.3%
Runaway 14 31.1% 3 7.7%
Truancy 7 15.6% 14 35.9%
Total 45 100% 39 100%

Source: Juvenile Monitoring Information System

Corrections admissions for status offenses

Due to specifications of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, it is unlikely that a juvenile would be placed in a correctional facility solely for a status offense. Youth committed for a new sentence to an IDOC facility for a status offense likely have a prior criminal history or other aggravating circumstances. As previously noted, youth may be recommitted to a juvenile correctional facility for a status offense if the offense is a violation of the youth's parole or mandatory supervised release.

However, between FY99 and FY04, six girls and 24 boys were sentenced for new offenses to IDOC for possession of liquor by a minor (Table 15).

Table 15
IDOC commitments for possession of liquor by a minor by gender, FY99-FY04

Year Girls Boys
Total Percent Total Percent
1999 0 0.0% 4 0.2%
2000 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
2001 0 0.0% 0 0.0%
2002 2 1.0% 4 0.3%
2003 2 1.0% 8 0.5%
2004 2 1.1% 8 0.5%
Total 6 -- 24 --

Source: Illinois Department of Corrections


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