Directly Impacted Young Woman Tells "Why We Need to End Girls' Incarceration"
Date:  07-29-2018

Status offenses are responsible for a disproportionate number of girls entering juvenile detention centers
From the blog by Sarah Zarba posted by the Vera Institute of Justice:

When I was 13 years old, skipping school and breaking curfew were two behaviors that I engaged in often.

If anyone would have asked me why I was skipping school and staying out late, I would have told them that I’d been running away from home after arguments with my parents, and that finding a place to sleep at night was more important to me than going to school.

Yet no one ever asked why my attendance fell off. Instead, I found myself in handcuffs and sent to court. This process was seamless because my school had a probation officer conveniently stationed inside of it. When I missed a certain number of school days, I received a referral to the probation officer, instead of a school counselor.

Status offenses—or behaviors that are not crimes but are only against the law because of a person's age—were my entry point into the juvenile justice system. Going to court was confusing and failed to address the underlying challenges I was facing as a girl having problems at home. For the rest of my teen years, I continued to struggle and eventually landed in the adult court system. Not offering support to me at that time was a missed opportunity that could have helped me to avoid this future justice system involvement. Continue reading >>>