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Beyond Confinement: The Regulation of Girl Offenders’ Bodies, Sexual Choices, and Behavior

Lisa Pasko

Throughout transformations in juvenile justice, control over girls’ bodies, sexual behavior, and reproductive choices has remained a constant focal point among decision makers, with girls infrequently charged with serious law violations and commonly judged in terms of their moral welfare and chasteness. Using interview data with 62 court and correctional decision makers, this article examines how the contemporary juvenile justice system responds to girls’ sexual behavior and explores the policies and procedures used to restrain sexual agency and reproductive choices, both physically and cognitively. This article also investigates the penalties enforced when girls resist such controls as well as intentions toward change and reform in the system.