“Issues related to girls in the criminal justice system have been ignored and neglected,” said Theresa Ochoa, Associate Professor at the IU School of Education and one of the speakers in the series. “But it is important for us to focus on their unique needs because there has been a rise in incarceration rates among girls. What we do with incarcerated girls in terms of their treatment is largely based on what we know about what works for boys. So it is sort of like treating sexually transmitted diseases among girls using information about how STDs show up in boys. Treatment should be different because boys are different from girls.”
Ochoa is facilitating the series along with Niki Weller, Chair for the Department of Sociology and Associate Professor of Sociology at IU Kokomo, with topics ranging from mental health of incarcerated girls to the portrayal of girls in prison in the media. The series will conclude in November with a female youth who spent time incarcerated. Her viewpoint will add authenticity to the experiences of youth involved in delinquency who experienced incarceration.
Speakers in the series come from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and the United States, and include researchers, theoreticians and practitioners from different universities and academic disciplines including, but not limited to, education, sociology, psychology, counseling, restorative practices and criminology. Ample time has been built into the series for questions from participants, who can register for all sessions.
“Our series is distinctive because of its divergence from a deeply entrenched status quo. Traditionally, each discipline studies delinquency through its own lens, and each country through its own culture, with the benefit of mutual knowledge and advancement being lost,” Ochoa added. “This siloed approach has traditionally hampered real-life improvements in juvenile delinquency and prevention as well. In this series, each month’s session is multinational and multidisciplinary, and each incorporates expertise of both researchers and practitioners. Such a coming-together will offer audiences, and the speakers themselves, an expanded and improved knowledge base regarding the nature of the supposed ‘bad girls.’”
The series is funded from the Global Gateway Network Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, the IU School of Education and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at IU Kokomo.