Back to RJ Archive

Restorative justice experiences of juvenile female offenders: School, community, and home.

Davis, Kimberly Lee
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Dissertation. Doctor of Philosophy. Drake University.

Problem: The number of delinquent female youth across the country is on the rise (U.S.
Department of Justice, 2007). These young women present unique challenges for their
schools, communities, and homes. A Midwest suburb created a diversion program, a
Youth Justice Initiative, to address the entire family system of the youth who were
committing crimes in their city. There was a dearth of research surrounding the
experiences of the young women and the implications for educational programming,
specific interventions, and community connections to the school setting.
Procedures: The primary purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of the
female participants from 2006-2008 and to apply those findings to my school setting.
Letters were sent to all 23 past participants to inform them of my study. Six young
women agreed to be interviewed, two parent focus groups were held with nine parent
participants, and six additional adult interviews were completed with people who were
affiliated with the program in different ways. All tapes were transcribed by a business
college student. Each of the 14 interviews was coded and separated into three different
documents: girls, focus groups, and other adults. Next, the three subsets were combined
into one document. After the second round of coding and member checking, six
descriptive themes emerged.
Findings: The six findings indicated theft was the main offense of the females. Second,
these young women committed delinquent acts, but experienced cognitive dissonance
about their behavior. Next, negative peers, negative boyfriends, and fathers had powerful
influence on the young women in the program. Fourth, trusting relationships and the
presence of social capital were at the heart of the success rate of the restorative
programming. Fifth, the circle process and the utilization of a monitor were the most
impactful interventions for positive change. Last, shame was lessened and was reintegrative
in nature.
Conclusions: The program is shown to be effective for these young women, and their
families. The Youth Justice Initiative program prevents many young women from being
adjudicated. This research study reinforced the necessity of the school to partner with the
families, outside agencies, and the community to support young people.
Recommendations: There were many program recommendations and ways the school
could replicate the effective parts of this program to better serve delinquent females. The
referral process itself should be reevaluated. It would benefit the community to examine
the services that are provided and to make sure they are utilized by those who are most in
need. (Author’s Abstract)


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now