Juvenile Justice:

Minimal Gender Bias Occurred in Processing Noncriminal Juveniles

GGD-95-56: Published: Feb 28, 1995. Publicly Released: Feb 28, 1995.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed whether gender bias existed in state juvenile justice systems between 1986 and 1991.

GAO found that: (1) there was minimal gender bias in state juvenile justice systems during that period; (2) 40 percent of the 500,620 juvenile status-offender cases between 1986 to 1991 involved females and females and males had similar probabilities of being detained, adjudicated, or placed for a status offense; (3) the offenders' prior offense history and age generally affected the judicial outcomes; (4) although there were few gender-based differences in the availability of counseling, educational, and medical services for females and males, the type and extent of such services varied by facility; (5) females were sometimes given admission physicals and additional access to health care services that were not applicable to males; (6) county probation officers believed that there were not any significant differences in the way females and males with similar status-offense histories were treated within their juvenile justice systems; (7) juvenile probation officers reported that treatment options were equally available for detained female and male status offenders and more facilities were needed for both males and females; (8) it could not determine whether there was a disproportionate number of facilities for males; (9) local officials believed that more facilities and early intervention services were needed for status offenders of both sexes; and (10) there were mixed views about whether the needs of status offenders were better met by co-educational or single-gender facilities.

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