Florida Juvenile Justice System Trying to Change Its Tune With Female Offenders

By: Donna Davis
By: Donna Davis

“Fran” who doesn’t want her real name used, is 15. Her home for the last six months has been a moderate security juvenile detention center. Fran’s life isn’t easy. But she found something here she wasn’t expecting.

Fran is part of a growing trend. More girls are committing crimes and they require a different approach. For instance, girls respond better in a setting that looks more like a dorm than a prison. That’s why this razor wire is coming down.

Bringing down the barbed wire at the juvenile detention center may seem like a small gesture. But it’s part of a huge change at the Juvenile Justice Department, one that emphasizes more treatment than punishment.

Florida’s Juvenile Justice Department used to emphasize a get-tough build more prisons policy. Under new leadership, the focus is gender specific with a new emphasis on rehabilitation.


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