Girls and Disproportionality in Offense Categories


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Girls and Disproportionality in Offense Categories

To examine disproportionality within the different stages of the juvenile justice system, proportionality ratios (PRs) were calculated. This calculation takes the ratio of the proportion of arrests, detainments, or incarcerations for a specific offense category for each gender. To obtain further explanation of these calculations, please see Appendix C. Similar to the relative rate ratio, a PR of 1 indicates equal proportional representation. A PR below 1 indicates an under-representation of girls. As with the RRR, available data do not allow for an individual to be linked across different stages and the PR for each stage must be interpreted independent of the other stages.

Coinciding with prior research, Illinois girls' juvenile justice system involvement was more likely than boys' to be for status offenses. The proportion of status offense arrests for girls was twice as high as boys'. However, because many status offense arrests are not reported to the CHRI system, it is difficult to gauge gender discrepancies at arrest. The proportion of girls' admissions to detention for status offenses was almost five times higher than boys', and their proportion of commitments to corrections were almost twice as high as boys'. However, because the number of juveniles incarcerated for status offenses was minimal, it is hard to draw definitive conclusions as to whether there was a true gender disparity in commitments to corrections for status offenses.

Also in accordance with national trends, girls' juvenile justice system involvement was more likely than boys' to be for person offenses. In 2007, the proportion of girls' arrests for person offenses were 26 percent higher than boys', their proportion of admissions to detention were 63 percent higher, and their proportion of commitments to corrections were 42 percent higher for person offenses than boys'.

Girls' juvenile justice system involvement was more likely than boys' to be for offenses categorized as "other," such as disorderly conduct. The proportion of girls' arrests was 14 percent higher and their commitments to corrections were 139 percent higher than boys' for "other" offenses. However, the proportion of girls' admissions to detention was 19 percent lower than boys'.

Girls' involvement in the juvenile justice system was less likely to be for drug offenses than boys. Girls' arrests were 67 percent less likely, their detention admissions were 54 percent less likely, and their commitments to corrections were 79 percent less likely than boys' to be incarcerated for drug offenses. Moreover, girls were less likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system for sex or weapons offenses. However, the number of juveniles arrested, detained, and incarcerated for sex or weapons offenses were too low to determine true gender disparities.

Table 17 depicts the proportion ratios of arrests, detainments, and incarcerations for girls by offense category for 2007.

Table 17
Girls' proportion ratios for arrests, admissions to detention, and commitments to IDOC by offense category, 2007*

Proportion ratios
Offense Category Arrest Detention Corrections*
Person 1.26 1.63 1.42
Sex 0.18 0.09 0.00
Weapons 0.46 0.21 0.30
Property 0.99 0.77 1.10
Drugs 0.33 0.46 0.21
Noncompliance 1.12 1.13 2.89
Status 2.13 5.63 1.99
Other 1.14 0.81 2.39

Source: Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc datasets, Juvenile Monitoring Information System, Illinois Department of Corrections.
* Corrections data for FY05 through FY07 were unavailable; FY04 was used.


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