Contextual differences in offense classifications: examining gender, race, and age differences
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Since the 1980s, girls have started to constitute growing numbers of juvenile court caseloads. Some suggest that girls are becoming increasingly more delinquent and violent, while others argue that changes in policing and processing account for the growing number of female offenders. This study explores the idea that girls' arrest rates may be increasing because gendered contextual differences are obscured in broad offense categories, meaning that girls and boys may engage in very different behaviors that lead to similar charges. This study explores the relationships between gender, race, and age and the contextual details of offenses, as discussed in police reports. Using a matched pairs design, bivariate analyses revealed very few statistically significant relationships between these variables. Significant relationships between contextual differences and gender did not exist, and few relationships existed between race and age and contextual details. Understanding the differences, or lack thereof, between boys' and girls' behaviors within similar charges contributes to the greater juvenile justice literature regarding gender.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- Methodology -- Results -- Conclusion