Chapter

Are Sugar and Spice Really Evolving into Snips and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails?

in Justice for Girls?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226770048
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226770062 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226770062.003.0002
Are Sugar and Spice Really Evolving into Snips and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails?

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This chapter examines the evidence related to the claim that girls are becoming more and more like boys in the nature and rate of their offending, and how the differences that exist in Canada and the United States translate into court processing. It asks whether the most salient data on “youth crime” — official court processing of youths — reflect the differences that we see in self-reported offending. The chapter first explores how girls and women are underrepresented as offenders, drawing on arrest data as well as self-reported offending. It then analyzes trends in estimates of the amount of crime apparently attributable to girls and boys, along with trends in the use of court for girls and boys. The data show that both girls and boys saw increases in the rate at which they were adjudicated delinquent in the United States from 1985 to 2004, whether one looks at all delinquency or minor assaults. In Canada, the rates of “all offenses,” “serious violence,” and “minor assaults” declined for boys but were stable for girls.

Keywords: offending; boys; girls; Canada; United States; court processing; youth crime; delinquency; minor assaults; serious violence

Chapter.  7469 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Criminal Law

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