"Girls in Trouble with the Law offers readers a brilliant window for re-viewing the gender, race, and class politics of juvenile justice. Readers will be filled with outrage, and yet fueled by Schaffner's passionate sense of possibility and vision for 'what must be." - Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, The Graduate Center, CUNY
"This is a superb work, intermingling poetry, narrative, interviews, and examples to create a fascinating overview of what girls experience in the juvenile corrections system, as well as how they are perceived by the people entrusted with their care. Schaffner's book is well-conceived and beautifully written." - Lynn Chancer, author of High Profile Crimes: When Legal Cases Become Social Causes In Girls in Trouble with the Law, sociologist Laurie Schaffner takes us inside female detention centers and explores the worlds of those who are incarcerated. Across the country, she finds that an overwhelming majority of young women are from ethnic or racial minority groups, and most have experienced some form of sexual or physical assault. Focusing on the girls' experiences of violence and the inequities of the juvenile corrections system, Schaffner explores three central questions. How have changing social norms of sexuality and emotional expression influenced adolescent girls' trangressions? What do authority, consent, and choice mean to urban women in trouble? How do they experience and understand violent episodes in their lives? Offering a critical assessment of what she describes as a gender-archaic juvenile legal system, Schaffner makes a compelling argument that current policies do not go far enough to empower disadvantaged girls so that they can overcome the social limitations of gender, sexual, and racial/ethnic discrimination that continue to plague young women growing up in the contemporary United States. Laurie Schaffner is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A Volume in the Rutgers Series in Childhood Studies, edited by Myra Bluebond-Langner.