Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in female juvenile offenders resulting in a growing interest in how to best address delinquent girls. In response to the changing demographics of juvenile offenders, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), a part of the Department of Justice, has called for “gender-specific” services. In this paper I will take one particular gender-specific intervention lauded by the OJJDP as a best practice in the field, the Female Intervention Team (FIT), and deconstruct the theories and beliefs that ground the intervention. This paper argues that FIT is problematic for three main reasons: first, FIT essentializes being female; second, FIT constructs girls as victims; and finally, FIT places too much emphasis on the individual girl’s agency at the cost of ignoring how structural forces contribute to and affect her reality.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (CC-BY-NC).