Critical Reading Journal Assignment #1
Holsinger (2006) surveyed 163 girls (Mean age = 16, range 12 – 20) incarcerated by the
Department of Youth Services (DYS) in Ohio. The majority of the girls self-identified as African-
American (48%), White (36%), or ‘Other’ (16%). Each girl completed a 15-page survey asking
them to describe existing services as well as the types of services they would like to receive.
In sum, Holsinger reported a large discrepancy between the programs girls actually want
and those they receive. Specifically, between 50 and 60% of the girls expressed a desire to
participate in certain programs that they currently were not receiving. These programs included:
learning to have good relationships, job/career skills, sports, health and/or fitness training,
independent living, learning how to be a better student, and anger management training.
Holsinger concludes that correctional agencies need to develop gender-specific programs
grounded in equality rather than gender stereotypes (e.g., cooking for girls; sports for boys). The
finding that almost 2/3 of the girls expressed an interest in learning to have good relationships was
taken as evidence in support of a common assumption in the gender-specific literature—‘girls do
better in programming that is relationship-oriented, rather than the more traditional, male model of
behaviour modification’ (p.10-6).
Interestingly, Dowden and Andrews (1999) came to a different conclusion based on a
meta-analytic review of 26 treatment outcome studies with female offenders. In brief, they reported
that treatment programs can reduce criminal recidivism among female offenders when they adhere
to three gender-neutral (‘male’) principles of effective intervention, namely the Risk Principle
(target the high risk people), the Need Princ