Unheard: The Epidemic of Severe Childhood Trauma Among Girls Tried as Adults

This research article explores the history of girls prosecuted as adults in courts across the United States. It explores the effects of childhood trauma and victimization on brain and physical development and the connection to involvement in the criminal legal system as children. The article describes the results of a survey of young women who were tried and incarcerated as adults for crimes committed while they were girls. Most of the women who completed the survey indicated that they had been victims of serious trauma before they ever committed any offense. Ultimately, the article offers some reforms for treating system-involved girls including: early screening to identify girls who have experienced trauma sooner to potentially stop legal system involvement, insisting on trauma-informed environments in long-term placements for girls, and prohibiting girls with trauma histories from being tried as adults.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Research
Tags: Data Collection and Analysis, Harms of Incarceration, Human Rights, National Analysis, Racial and Ethnic Disparities, Racial Justice, Sentencing, Transfer, Trauma, Youth in Adult Court