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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Many Girls Are Arrested For Skipping School or Running Away From Home -- This Needs to Change!

Black girl being arrested

Skipping school and staying out late are some of the common reasons why some girls -- mostly Blacks and Latinos -- are being arrested. They are punished and often end up with criminal records, when they could have just been given helpful counseling. For this reason, the Vera Institute of Justice has launched an initiative to change the way how this system goes.
Many girls nowadays experience being sent to juvenile court just because of status offenses or a behavior considered a law violation because of a person's age. It includes skipping school and breaking curfew. Probation officers are the ones assigned to supervise them.

However, no one ever asked these girls the reason for their "violation." Many are saying they experienced being abused at home that's why they left. Others are also being bullied at school that's why they decided not to go to school.

It is also important to note that most girls who experience such are Black, Native American, and Latina. They are often victims of gender stereotypes and racial discrimination. In that case, they could have needed a school counselor instead of a probation officer.

According to the Vera Institute of Justice, less punitive responses such as referral to a school social worker or connection to a girls' support group could help a girl face the underlying issues that are the root cause of their problems. It could prevent them from being involved in future offenses that could bring them to the adult court system.

Moreover, Vera is working to end girls' incarceration by pursuing to end the use of status offenses as a whole. Their programs such as the Toolkit for Status Offense System Reform and Girls Matter aims to inform people of how to properly respond to girls' behaviors.


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