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Legal Challenges to the Treatment of Young Women in the Juvenile Justice System (From Working With Young Women in the Juvenile Justice System, P 55-64, 1987 -- See NCJ-109539)

NCJ Number
C B Shauffer; A C Shotton
Date Published
10 pages
Legal Challenges to the management of females in the California juvenile justice system may be through appeals based on the equal protection of the law and the 'Carrie W.' ruling or through civil proceedings based on class actions or taxpayer actions.
An equal protection challenge is based on California courts' holding that whenever persons are treated differently on the basis of gender, such treatment must be strictly scrutinized. When female juveniles receive dispositions different from similiarly situated males, an equal protection challenge should be made. In re Carrie W. (1979), a California appeals court held that secure placement should be the last resort for a juvenile. A secure placement made when other reasonable alternatives exist for a female juvenile could be challenged under this ruling. Civil challenges to the treatment of females in the California juvenile justice system can be through individual appeals and writs on behalf of a single client or through a class action that involves the general treatment of many girls by the system. Since procedural law relating to class actions in California is particularly cumbersome, taxpayer actions are more common in that State. In California, anyone who pays taxes to a particular governmental unit can challenge almost anything that governmental unit does. Although there are some impediments, class action may be brought in a Federal court.