Unpublished Opinion

Monday, June 06, 2005

Girls in Juvenile Detention

I read an interesting article in the Sun-Times today about a study on the death rates of children that serve time in juvenile detention centers. The study revealed that girls that were at some point in the Cook County juvenile denention system were eight times more likely to die young than a girl in Cook County that was never in juvenile detention. It seems like a pretty decent study. They tracked over 1800 kids, chosen at random, who were in the system from 1995 to 1998. If you are curious, the death rate for boys in detention was 4.5 times the non-detention rate.

I find this interesting for a few reasons. At one point in time, juvenile incarceration was geared to rehabilitation and a focus on services for the children to help them to live better lives. Either they stopped doing that, it isn't working, or it isn't enough to overcome the problems that result from poverty. It is no coincidence that most of these girls were from poor communities.

I also wonder why there is the disparity between boys and girls. I would love to read the full study. It is appearing in the journal Pediatrics. Not sure how to get a copy of that.

One other interesting thing the article pointed out was how the country gets fixated on school shootings, but states that from 1990 to 2000, there were 53 deaths in school shootings. Meanwhile, 840 teenagers died of gunshots in NYC alone during that same period. Nobody cares, though, because the majority of them were poor and minority, instead of rich and white and driving a BMW to school.

Finally, I would like to point out what I think was a completely inconsiderate disrespectful act on the part of the Sun-Times web team. The identifier in link for the above story is "dead kids." Real nice.


  • Wow. That's really interesting. Do you know when it was published in Pediatrics, or what the article's name is? I can get a copy. I would also be interested in reading it.

    By Blogger Buccaneer Betty, at 11:29 AM  

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