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Crime, Law & Justice

Female Juvenile Offender Programs Found Lacking

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Oregon Audited
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A recent audit by the Secretary of State’s office finds transition programs for female youth in state custody lag behind those available to males. As KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert reports, the unequal service is a problem for county juvenile departments and the Oregon Youth Authority.

More than one third of juvenile offenders in Oregon Youth Authority custody are female.  And the number is growing. Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins says she’s long been concerned for young women who have “done their time”—yet have fewer transition programs to help with their unique needs.

Sec. Atkins:“Female youth in the Juvenile Justice system tend to have more acute physical and mental health needs. Three times as many female youth in Oregon Youth Authority custody have attempted suicide. They tend to come with some past history of physical, emotional abuse, sexual abuse in many cases.”

Secretary Atkins says there are currently three transition programs for males while the one for young women exists as a pilot program with funding only allocated through mid- 2017. She hopes “next steps” will include legislative action to extend and increase correctional programs and services for female youth.

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