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Lisa Pasko

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Setting the Record “Straight”: Girls, Sexuality, and the Juvenile Correctional System

This article examines the psychiatrization, invalidation, and criminalization of girls’ same-sex behavior within correctional and detention facilities. First, it shows how youth correctional professionals pathologize girls’ lesbian identity as being due to girls’ sexual abuse histories and consequent inability to control impulses and to make “healthy” intimacy decisions. Second, it demonstrates how such staff simultaneously nullify girls’ lesbian activity as simply part of the institutionalization experience. Third, this article looks at how the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) has had the unintended consequence of criminalizing institutionalized girls’ sexual activity with each other. This article ends with policy implications for female juvenile offenders, sexuality, and corrections.

corrections, female offenders, sexuality, criminalization, psychiatrization, Prison Rape Elimination Act, juvenile justice

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 37, No. 1 (2010-11): 7-26.

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