No Girl Left Behind: Girls Courts as a Restorative Justice Approach to Healing
36 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 18, 2021
This article examines the need for a gendered restorative justice approach to healing girls from the trauma, abuse, abandonment, addiction, violence and misdirection that many of them have encountered, as a result of the juvenile justice system’s abandonment of its restorative justice roots and its failure to adequately account for gender distinctions between boys and girls. This article focuses on the vulnerabilities of girls of color who are at particular risk for spiraling from the juvenile courts into the adult criminal justice system which remains ill-equipped to meet the needs of incarcerated females. This article will also examine the burgeoning movement of restorative court interventions for delinquent girls reflected in the creation of specialized Girls Courts. This article will culminate in a proposed reformed template for Girls Court to expand girls’ opportunities, particularly Black girls and other girls of color, to heal from trauma, addiction and broken family structures, and restore girls’ ability to thrive in a meaningful life.
Keywords: juvenile justice reform, Black girls, criminal justice reform, restorative courts, restorative justice, girls courts, gender justice, gendered juvenile justice, Cyntoia Brown
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