Governing Girls

Rehabilitation in the Age of Risk

By Christie Barron  

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In recent years there has been significant media hype and moral panic over assaults and violent crimes perpetrated by young women. The governmental response to control crime and to provide protection to citizens has taken various, often contradictory, forms. The current research agenda on controlling youth violence in Canada, especially in light of provisions in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is focused on risk assessment. The approach, however, ignores how “risk” is a socio-cultural phenomenon. Through interviews with young female offenders and youth justice authorities, Governing Girls examines female youth violence in the contemporary landscape of control and the increasing reliance on risk assessment tools to classify and manage youths’ level of risk. Exploring the meaning of treatment and rehabilitation in the age of risk, as well as analyzing the gender, race and class dimensions of the risk construct, Christie L. Barron questions the impact of risk rationality and argues that actuarial technologies depoliticize the process of control and further exclude and marginalize young female offenders.

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  • Introduction
  • Theoretical and Methodological Framework
  • Managing the Young Female Offender
  • Girls’ Risk/Need Factors
  • Punishing the Young Female Offender
  • “Rehabilitating” and Treating the Young Female Offender
  • The Impact of Risk Governance on Subjectivity
  • Effectively Reducing “Risk”
  • References


  • Christie Barron

    Simon Fraser University

    Christie L. Barron holds a PhD in criminology from Simon Fraser University and has taught in Canada and the U.K.

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