The Latest from The CJ Project: Detention alternative programs struggle to help girls stay safe without incarceration


denicia-cadena.jpgIn the latest from The CJ Project, freelancer Elizabeth Miller looks into disparities in juvenile justice reform in Bernalillo County and its differing effects on girls and boys. In 2015, Bernalillo County examined data by gender subsets and found the average detention rate for girls decreased by 8 percent, compared to 26 percent for boys, from 2012 to 2014. Additionally, many girls who find themselves in the juvenile justice system also have a history of adverse childhood experiences. In a study of 220 committed juvenile offenders, ages 13 to 18, the New Mexico Sentencing Commission found 67 percent of girls had experienced emotional abuse, 70 percent had experienced physical abuse, and 63 percent had experienced sexual abuse. Many of the girls in the system are also Hispanic, African American or Native American and identify as LGBTQ. “We really need to talk about how the intersections impact people at all of their different identities,” Denicia Cadena, policy director for Young Women United (pictured left), says.


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Photo by Marjorie Childress