In Girls in Trouble with the Law, sociologist Laurie Schaffner takes us inside juvenile detention centers and explores the worlds of the young women incarcerated within. Across the nation, girls of color are disproportionately represented in detention facilities, and many report having experienced physical harm and sexual assaults. For girls, the meaning of these and other factors such as the violence they experience remain undertheorized and below the radar of mainstream sociolegal scholarship. When gender is considered as an analytic category, Schaffner shows how gender is often seen through an outmoded lens.
Offering a critical assessment of what she describes as a gender-insensitive juvenile legal system, Schaffner makes a compelling argument that current policies do not go far enough to empower disadvantaged girls so that communities can assist them in overcoming the social limitations and gender, sexual, and racial/ethnic discrimination that continue to plague young women growing up in contemporary United States.