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A major study defining the delinquent girl, the crimes she commits and why she commits them

The Delinquent Girl

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edited by Margaret A. Zahn

Outstanding Academic Title, Choice, 2009

"This book includes some of the most outstanding work on girls’ delinquency in the field of criminology...this will be an important and oft-cited reference work for years to come."
Scott Decker, Arizona State University

Over the past decade and a half, girls’ involvement in the juvenile justice system has increased. Yet the topic remains under-studied among criminologists. The Delinquent Girl is a “state-of-the-field” evaluation that identifies and analyzes girls who become delinquent, the kinds of crimes they commit and the reasons they commit them. The distinguished academics and practitioners who contributed to this volume provide an overview of the research on girls’ delinquency, discuss policy implications and point to areas where further research is critically needed.

The book begins with an examination of the major theories and explanations of female delinquency and considers the “gender gap” between male and female offenders. Other issues, such as the role of the juvenile justice system and changes in justice policies, are also addressed. Throughout The Delinquent Girl, the contributors use criminological and feminist theories to consider causes and implications—e.g., family dysfunction, community factors—and provide insight into treating and preventing juvenile delinquency.

Contributors: Robert Agnew, Angela Browne, Meda Chesney-Lind, Gayle A. Dakof, Barry C. Feld, Diana H. Fishbein, Peggy C. Giordano, Denise C. Gottfredson, Candace Kruttschnitt, Jody Miller, Shari Miller, Merry Morash, Christopher W. Mullins, Allison Ann Payne, Jennifer Schwartz, Darrell Steffensmeier, Donna-Marie Winn and the editor.

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Excerpt

Read the Introduction (pdf).

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Reviews

"This important reference can enlighten everyone working with the juvenile justice system, as well as anyone who cares about adolescent girls."
Youth Today

"I have no doubt that this book, which includes some very thorough work on girls' delinquency in the field of criminology, will become a cited reference work for years to come."
The New York Law Journal

"With great sensitivity, understanding, and clarity, this comprehensive collection will likely serve as the vanguard for better understanding of and attending to the women caught up in the universe of 'the delinquent girl.' Highly recommended."
Choice

"A thoroughly well researched, state of the art overview of the current understanding of delinquency in girls…. Zahn and the contributors to The Delinquent Girl are to be commended for providing us with such a timely, useful and but also sobering volume. The editor and writers who contributed to this book do us all a great service with their thoughtful reviews of the existing literature on all facets of the field of girls’ delinquency. This volume will no doubt become required reading for anyone currently working in the field and for all those who intend to make girls and delinquency the focus of their future work."
Gender Issues

"A well-written overview of the state of knowledge pertaining to girls’ delinquency that is comprehensive, while also written for a wide audience of researchers, practitioners, and interested citizenry."
Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice

"This comprehensive book includes an overview of mainstream theorizing and feminist theories…This is an important contribution that offers extensive data and a strong foundation for policy and research."
British Journal of Criminology

"The Delinquent Girl includes a number of excellent articles reviewing what we know about gender and delinquency....Zahn has edited a collection of important reviews on various aspects of delinquency. The volume will likely appeal to those wishing to understand major criminological theories, consistent predictors of delinquency, some discussion of gender issues, and juvenile justice policies. For students, especially, it will provide an overview of major studies as well as an excellent source for further research--both in the literature and empirically....This volume will give any researcher of gender and delinquency enough inspiration and work to ensure productivity for years."
Contemporary Sociology

"Overall, the [contributors to] The Delinquent Girl explore how gender, race, and class differences intersect to situate girls’ delinquency in a broader and more inclusive context. The[y] show that girls’ experiences with violence and delinquency are not monolithic. Girls’ and boys’ delinquency differs depending on a multitude of intersecting factors that must be studied and understood in order to better address this problem.... Zahn’s book is an interesting and enjoyable read.... [It] is ideal for senior high school and college students. Most of the chapters are punctuated with useful take-home notes that succinctly summarize the important points contained therein."
Feminist Formations

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Contents


List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. The Contribution of "Mainstream" Theories to the Explanation of Female Delinquency
2. Feminist Theories of Girls' Delinquency
3. Trends in Girls' Delinquency and the Gender Gap: Statistical Assessment of Diverse Sources
4. Biopsychological Factors, Gender, and Delinquency
5. Family Influences on Girls' Delinquency
6. Peer Influences on Girls' Delinquency
7. Girls, Schooling, and Delinquency
8. Gender Differences in Neighborhood Effects and Delinquency
9. The Context of Girls' Violence: Peer Groups, Families, Schools, and Communities
10. Young Women and Street Gangs
11. Girls in the Juvenile Justice System
Appendix: Girls Studt Group Members
Notes
References
Contributors
Index

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About the Author(s)

Margaret A. Zahn is Professor of Sociology and Criminology at North Carolina State University, and Past President and Fellow of the American Society of Criminology. She is Principal Investigator of the Girls Study Group, a major project funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, coordinated by RTI International, where she was a Visiting Scientist. She is the co-editor of several books including Homicide: A Sourcebook of Social Research (with M. Dwayne Smith).

Subject Categories

Law and Criminology
Sociology
Women's Studies

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