Little women: Girls in adult prison

Emily Gaarder, Joanne Belknap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Despite the growing trend of waiving youth to adult/criminal court, little is known about how convicted youth experience adult prison. To date, no research has been published about girls in adult prisons. In this study, intensive interviews were conducted with 22 girls serving time in a women's prison in the Midwest, as well as four staff working in the girls ' unit. The findings describe the complex lives of girls housed in an adult women's prison, in particular, their difficulties in gaining access to adequate schooling, work training, counseling, and health care. We also address the girls' contact with adult women prisoners, as well as their relationships with staff at the prison. Beyond improving their conditions of confinement, our research highlights the need to consider the appropriateness of placing girls in adult institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-80
Number of pages30
JournalWomen and Criminal Justice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 3 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Delinquency
  • Girls
  • Juvenile transfer
  • Prison


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