The incarceration of female young offenders: Protection for whom?


Journal Article

Female young offenders have recently come to the forefront of both media and policy attention. This article explores (1) the offending patterns, (2) social histories, and (3) the criminal justice system's response to a group of the allegedly most serious young female offenders in British Columbia, Canada. As this article will demonstrate, despite isolated incidents of violence, the majority of offending by female youth in custody is relatively minor. Results indicate that most of the offences that young women are serving time for are administrative. Moreover, it appears as though the primary rationale for sentencing these females to custody is protective in nature. That is, based on the testimony of both the young women and key criminal justice decision makers, the primary concern in "breaching" female offenders is most often directly tied to the safety of the young women. It is the authors' contention that it is not only the paucity of non-custodial treatment alternatives that results in administrative-based incarceration, but also the resistance that many young women have towards any attempt to prevent them from returning to their street lives. In effect, the pull of addiction, pimps/boyfriends, and peers is often so intense that many of the multi-problem young women refuse to remain in non-custodial treatment sites and programs.

Cited Authors

  • Corrado, RR; Odgers, C; Cohen, IM

Published Date

  • April 1, 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 42 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 189 - 207

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0704-9722

Citation Source

  • Scopus