United States: Study Shows Correlation between Sexual Abuse and Incarceration of Girls

A recent study by the Human Rights Project for Girls, the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, and the Ms. Foundation for Women addresses the issue of sexual abuse to prison pipeline for girls. The study reveals a correlation of sexually abused girls incarcerated for non-violent status offenses such as loitering, truancy, running away, and other behaviors consistent with a minor seeking protection after abuse. Courts justify incarcerating girls for non-violent status offenses arguing juvenile detention centers can provide girls with rehabilitative services, although incarceration causes further psychological harm and detention centers fail to provide mental health services. This year, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Protection Act (JJDPA) is up for reauthorization before Congress with proposed amendments aiming to improve the quality of life of incarcerated girls by providing access to the appropriate health professionals and addressing the need to prevent these arrests at all by advocating for professional health services for non-violent offenders rather than incarceration.


Compiled from: Levitz, Eric, The sexual abuse to prison pipeline, MSNBC (July 9, 2015).