DeLauro Introduces Bill to Improve Juvenile Justice System for Girls
Legislation Comes on Heels of Georgetown Report Commending CT Reforms
WASHINGTON, DC—Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) is introducing legislation today that would encourage the juvenile justice system to better respond to the unique problems facing young girls in the system. The Improving the Juvenile Justice System for Girls Act of 2013 creates a grant category that states could apply for to help support gender-specific programs for girls in the justice system.
“The proportion of girls entering the justice system has increased steadily over the past several decades. Most of these girls, up to 73 percent, have histories of physical and sexual violence, and their entry into the justice system is often linked to their victimization. The trauma of untreated abuse has lifetime consequences for these girls, including poor educational achievement, less stable work histories, substance abuse or addiction and increased reliance on social services.
“Research shows that gender-responsive programming providing trauma-informed care and trauma-specific services is the most effective means of preventing juvenile offenses and reducing recidivism. I hope my colleagues take up and pass this common-sense legislation to ensure troubled girls can grow into successful women.”
In October of last year, Georgetown Law Center cited Connecticut’s reforms as a model for implementing successful gender-specific programs in the juvenile justice system. Connecticut’s reforms date back to 2001 and have resulted in many of the girls in its system becoming productive citizens.