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Throughout the nation, court-involved girls frequently pose minimal risk to public safety but suffer with significant social service needs. Data on detention utilization show that girls are being disproportionately detained for misdemeanors, status offenses and technical violations of probation and parole. In short, many girls enter detention for the wrong reasons and many remain in detention for extended periods harmful to them and contrary to best practice.

This practice guide responds to a call from both mature and new sites from within the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) network, which continue to find that effectively serving and supervising girls is among the most difficult issues in detention reform. The practice guide stresses that efforts to safely reduce the inappropriate detention of low-risk girls must be rooted in JDAI's core strategies, but with an added intentional focus on applying those core strategies to girls' unique needs and circumstances. Thus, the Practice Guide updates the 2005 Pathways report Detention Reform and Girls: Challenges and Solutions and then details steps jurisdictions can take to pinpoint policies or practices that may result in girls' inappropriate or unnecessary detention. It then profiles an array of promising and proven strategies drawn from experience and literature that jurisdictions can use to improve the detention process and reduce the use of detention for girls.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
7 Sep 2022
1.2 MB



  • Subject
    • Criminal Law

    • Criminal Procedure

    • Gender

    • Juvenile Law

    • Law Enforcement and Corrections

  • Journal title
    • Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Practice Guides

  • Volume
    • 5

  • Date submitted

    7 September 2022

  • Additional information
    • Suggested Citation:

      Sherman, Francine T. "Making Detention Reform Work for Girls, A Guide to Juvenile Detention Reform." Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Practice Guides 5 Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation (2013).