"Anybody Listening?": Perceptions of African American Girls Involvement in a Community-based Delinquency Reduction Program
Female adolescents represent a growing subcategory of the juvenile justice population. This growth is directly linked to adolescent females being disproportionately incarcerated for status offenses such as running away. The Georgia House Bill 242 has changed the way status offenders are held accountable for their actions. The bill called for more researched-based, community-based services. However, there were very few gender-specific community-based services for adolescent females and even fewer programs that address all the areas of need for a delinquent adolescent female. This study adds to the literature of “what works” for adolescent females in the juvenile justice system and establishes a long-term service that will prevent adolescent females from reoffending or violating their probation. A key component to the services provided to adolescent females is education. In this capacity, this research study sought to answer the following question: 1. How do the experiences of at-risk adolescent females in a community-based program help reduce their recidivism rates? Participants, volunteers, and the founder of Savannah Youth City, Inc. were interviewed to determine the effectiveness of SYC’s program through their lived experiences and the perception of the participants on the program’s ability to reduce their recidivism rates. This study utilized a qualitative methodology. The participants were adamant that SYC was effective in reducing their delinquent behaviors despite some of the participants having recent judicial system involvement. It was the perception of the participants that SYC provided them with acceptance, validation, and a nonjudgmental environment.
Hicks-Brown, Marco Viveca