Girls in State Juvenile Halls Not Receiving Adequate Health Care, Study Finds
Females in the California Youth Authority's juvenile halls have "unique needs that are going unmet" -- including sex education, diet and medical care -- "especially for pregnant girls," according to a study conducted by students from the University of California-Berkeley released Tuesday at a Capitol briefing, the Stockton Record reports.
The study, conducted by 20 student researchers during a semester-long project under the supervision of Barry Krisberg, president of the National Council of Crime and Delinquency, looked at girls ages 13 to 25 who are under CYA custody. The study, which found that programs designed to help girls in prison are "largely absent," also noted that girls increasingly comprise more of the population of incarcerated juveniles. The proportion of juveniles incarcerated by CYA who are female has increased from between 3% and 3.5% in the early 1990s to between 4.5% and 6% in the early 2000s.
However, Rudy Haapanen, CYA chief researcher, said that the study's figures examine a limited time period and that examining the numbers in a larger context shows female CYA admission rates have been trending downward.
CYA spokesperson Nancy Lungren said, "We're constantly trying to improve. We continue making any changes recommended to us by validated researchers and scientists." Carolyn Contreras, assistant chief probation officer for San Joaquin County, said juvenile halls statewide lack sufficient services.
Tiffany Richards, one of the student researchers, said, "The system is designed to punish girls. What they really need is treatment" (Smith, Bergen Record, 12/8).