Fewer girls are getting locked up, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Over the past decade, aggravated assaults among girls fell 18 percent. Violent crimes committed by teenage girls also dropped 13 percent.
Indio Juvenile Hall has also seen the numbers drop.
“Our numbers dropped so low for females, right here in the Coachella Valley, that we actually closed the[detention] unit, and the few females that we had we sent to Riverside,” says Joni Miller, a probation supervisor at the Indio Juvenile Hall.
But a new program brought young criminals back to Indio. The Youthful Offender Program started last year. While thetwo boys-units are full, the girls unit is less than half-full.
The program is set up like a boot camp. They earn fake money for completing a list of good deeds. And they get fined if they do something wrong.
“Everyday, they get their cash. At the end of the week, they’re responsible for paying a certain amount for rent or a certain amount for food,” says Miller.
A kid will usually land in the Youthful Offender Program if he or she runs away from a placement facilitythree or more times. Miller says 80 percent of kids on probation stay out of trouble. She credits a prevention program where parents, teachers, and friends work together.
“The prevention program has really made a difference in reducing the numbers all the way around. And we’re not just seeing as much now,which is a good thing,” Miller says with a laugh.
The number of teenage girls arrested hit a peak in 2004 but has since started to decline. Many, like Miller, are hopeful it remain low.
The study finds violent crimes among boys also dropped 14 percent, although Miller says they’ve seen no change.