A status offense is described in juvenile law as an act committed by a minor that would not be deemed a crime if committed by an adult. Truancy, running away from home or from a parent, possession, and ingestion of alcohol or cigarettes, non-criminal traffic offenses, and disregarding a municipal curfew statute are examples of status crimes (“Juvenile Status Offenders / Educational Video PSA” 1). When it comes to reforming efforts, juvenile justice centers are used as a last resort, leading to growing criticism that they have been overused and are therefore inefficient. Moreover, there have been reports of violence, sexual abuse, and substandard care at several juvenile institutions and as such youth who are removed from their homes and taken to such centers may be affected negatively (Abrams 34). They often end up being victimized, which then leads them further down the path of crime. Eventually, juvenile delinquents turn to prostitution, drugs and alcohol abuse, and criminal gangs as a means to an end.
Although women have historically committed crime at a lower rate than their male counterparts, there has been a notable increase in the number of status offenses among young girls. Research has shown that with the rise of female delinquents, the level of offense between the two genders is almost equal. The environment surrounding today’s young people has a high impact on how they will turn out and, evidently, females in the juvenile system are more likely to have a history of abuse and other kinds of trauma (Bright et al., 10). When young ones grow up around poverty and abuse, they blame their surroundings leading to a higher chance of status offenses. There is a need to establish gender-specific programs and initiatives which would aid in decreasing the number of re-offending girls or in a better case to intervene early enough to prevent these cases from ever arising. Some states are already providing these services to at-risk youth and their families to help curb the rise of status offenses.
Abrams, Laura S. “Juvenile Justice at a Crossroads: Science, Evidence, and Twenty-First Century Reform.” Social Service Review, vol. 87, no. 4, 2013, pp. 725–752. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/674074.
Bright, Charlotte Lyn, Charlotte Lyn Bright, Sarah Hurley and Richard P. Barth. “GenderDifferences in Outcomes of Juvenile Court-Involved YouthFollowing Intensive In-HomeServices.” Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, vol. 5, no. 1, 2014, pp.000–000. JSTOR, JSTOR,
“Juvenile Status Offenders / Educational Video PSA.” YouTube, 2018,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYPOuKG7fSc.