At the dawn of the twenty-first century, panic about girls' offending in Britain reached fever pitch. No longer sugar and spice, a 'new breed' of girl, the hedonistic, violent, binge-drinking 'ladette', was reported to have emerged. At the same time, the number of young women entering the youth justice system, including youth custody, increased dramatically. Offending Girls challenges simplistic and demonising popular representations of 'bad' girls and examines what exactly is new about the 'new' offending girl. In the light of enormous social and cultural changes affecting girls' lives, and expectations of them, since previous British research in this area, the book investigates whether popular stereotypes problematising female youthful behaviour resonate with the accounts of criminalised young women themselves, and to what extent they have infiltrated professional youth justice discourse. Through the lens of original detailed qualitative research in two Youth Offending Teams and a Secure Training Centre - the first study of its kind since the 'modernisation' of the youth justice system over a decade ago - Offending Girls questions whether the 'new' youth justice system is delivering justice for girls and young women. It also contends that the panic about an 'unprecedented crime wave' amongst girls is not supported by robust evidence, but that the interventionist thrust which characterises contemporary youth justice has had a particularly pernicious impact on girls. It will be key reading for students and academics working in the areas of criminology, criminal and youth justice, education, gender studies, youth studies, social work, sociology and social policy, as well as youth and criminal justice practitioners and policy-makers.

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