“Fighting for Girls” receives 2010 PASS Award from NCCD

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency has selected “Fighting for Girls: New Perspectives on Gender and Violence,” edited by Meda Chesney-Lind and Nikki Jones, to receive one of its 2010 PASS Awards.

According to NCCD:

The PASS Awards (Prevention for a Safer Society) program is the only national recognition of print, electronic and broadcast journalists, reporters, producers, and writers and those in film and literature, focusing America’s attention on the complex problems of the criminal and juvenile justice systems and child welfare, and the thoughtful and vital solutions to them.

Click here for the award letter and a list of all the 2010 PASS Award winners.

Award certificate

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New Article–”Doing Time in Detention Home: Gendered Punishment Regimes in Youth Jails”

“Doing Time in Detention Home: Gendered Punishment Regimes in Youth Jails”, Brian Bilsky and Meda Chesney-Lind, in Razor Wire Women: Prisoners, Activists, Scholars, and Artists (Suny Series in Women, Crime, and Criminology)

From the conclusion:

“In the facility, it is clear that youth in detention in Hawaii are systematically exposed to punitive gender regimes despite official facility policies to the contrary. Harsh punishment over mostly trivial matters is particularly acute on the girls’ “side” where facility structure and practices insist on domestic duties and hours of boredom sittingon the floor often with no access to reading material. Girls are frequently subjected to long hours of isolation and work detail for extremely minor infractions, often growing out of these institutional requirements for silence and inactivity.”

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Belknap on Meda Chesney-Lind: “The mother of feminist criminology”

Article by Joanne Belknap, Women & Criminal Justice, Vol. 15, Issue 2, February 2004.


No individual has contributed as much to feminist criminology as Meda Chesney-Lind. This article is a biography of Chesney-Lind written after conducting two interviews with her, and a careful reading of her work and other works written about her. Feminism was always a strong force in Chesney-Lind’s life. Her childhood was difficult, but positively affected by her strong mother. In college and graduate school, Chesney-Lind became an ardent political activist. She “fell into” her master’s work on delinquent girls, which began a career that has significantly impacted criminology and raised awareness about delinquent girls and incarcerated women. This biography describes how Chesney-Lind’s early life experiences critically influenced her career as a criminologist. Additionally, this essay illustrates a scholar who has changed the field of criminology despite the large portion of her academic life spent marginalized in a community college.

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“Fighting for Girls” reviewed

“Informed by feminist perspectives and contemporary research and theory in psychology, sociology and criminal justice, readers searching for information regarding the truth about the stereotypes of violent girls will not find a better, broader, or more in depth discussion of this issue than in Fighting for Girls.”

Helen LaCrosse Levesque of Indiana University reviews “Fighting for Girls” for the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Volume 40, No. 4, April 2011.

If you have access to this journal through your library, this is definitely a review worth reading. Levesque does mini-reviews of each of the book’s chapters.

Her overall conclusion:

What is notable about Fighting for Girls is that, in one volume, readers are presented with not only ten new investigations but also with discussions of findings from hundreds of other studies all pointing to the same conclusion: girls simply are not more violent than in past. Moreover, Fighting for Girls goes further and critically addresses why, given the evidence that they are, if anything, less violent than in past, girls are being arrested and incarcerated in ever greater numbers. From multiple perspectives, the volumes’ contributors offer detailed discussions of the personal, social, cultural and political factors behind this contradiction. Informed by feminist perspectives and contemporary research and theory in psychology, sociology and criminal justice, readers searching for information regarding the truth about the stereotypes of violent girls will not find a better, broader, or more in depth discussion of this issue than in Fighting for Girls.

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“Fighting for Girls” available in Kindle e-book edition

The recent book edited by Meda Chesney-Lind and Nikki Jones “Fighting for Girls: New Perspectives on Gender and Violence,” is now available in a Kindle edition.

Kindle e-books can be read on dedicated Kindle readers, as well as most computers, smart phones, and tablet computers like the iPad.

The Kindle edition is currently listed at Amazon.com for $15.37, which is $10 less than the paperback edition.

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Forthcoming book: Feminist Theories of Crime

Forthcoming from Ashbook Press:

Feminist Theories of Crime
Edited by Meda Chesney-Lind, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA and Merry Morash, Michigan State University, USA

This collection re-imagines the field of criminology with insights gleaned from feminist theory. Works included here illustrate that gender is a key organizing principle of social life. This means that men and women have gender, that patriarchy as well as gender must be theorized, and that other systems of oppression such as race and class must also be studied to fully understand the crime problem and the criminal justice system. Finally, the articles collected here exemplify the feminist concern for thinking consciously about how and why we do our research with the crucial goal of producing knowledge that will promote social justice.

Scheduled: October 2011

–> More information

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Chesney-Lind in gang lecture at UCLA on April 14, 2011

Professor Chesney-Lind is scheduled to speak at UCLA on Thursday, April 14, as part of a series sponsored by the UCLA Department of Social Welfare in the School of Public Affairs.

The year-long lecture series, “GANGS: Strategies to Break the Cycle of Violence,” addresses gang issues in Los Angeles and on a national scale, with special focus on current knowledge of gang operations, intervention strategies, effective support services and policy recommendations.

Other speakers in the series have been Connie Rice, Co-director of the Advancement Project Los Angeles; James C. ‘Buddy’ Howell, a senior research associate with the National Gang Center, and former director of research and program development for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Father Greg Boyle, founder and executive director of Los Angeles–based Homeboy Industries, and the author of “Tattoos on the Heart”; Lee Baca, sheriff of Los Angeles County; and Bernard Warner, director of prisons for the Washington State Department of Corrections.

A live webcast of this event is planned at the ad-supported website Ustream.tv. To watch, go to http://bit.ly/gangserieslive.

For more information, see the Department of Social Welfare web site.

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Berkeley Law School Symposium lands media coverage for girls’ issues

On March 11, 2011, the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice hosted “African American Girls and Young Women and the Juvenile Justice System:
A Call to Action
,” believed to be the first-ever convening in the United States devoted exclusively to the well-being of African American girls and young women and the juvenile justice system. The symposium brought the voices of African American girls and young women to the fore. Advocates, activists, academics, practitioners and leaders from across the country highlighted the invisible crisis of African American girls and young women who are disproportionately incarcerated and bear the highest risk for non-stranger violence than that of any other group, including their African American male counterparts.

Nikki Jones, Associate Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Barbara, gave the Robert D. & Leslie-Kay Raven Lecture on Access to Justice, an endowed lecture that launched the two-day event.

Dr. Meda Chesney-Lind was the respondent/discussant.

Jones and Chesney-Lind co-edited Fighting for Girls: New Perspectives on Gender and Violence, published by SUNY Press last year.

From Rachel Pfeffer, writing in EthnoBlog:

Sociologist Nikki Jones of UC Santa Barbara, and Meda Chesney-Lind, University of Hawaii opened up the conference with a look at the statistics.

“No”, said Jones, “Black girls are not committing more crimes, even though they are being incarcerated in record numbers.”

“I’ve been studying this for decades,” said Chesney-Lind. She added, “We have never seen these kind of numbers before. National policies like zero tolerance are responsible for the school to prison pipeline. And a dual justice system that treats white girls differently from black girls is disproportionately impacting African American girls.”

She continued, “In 2008, we knew the arrest rate in California was 49 out of every 1,000 for black girls, 8.9 per 1,000 for white girls and 14.9 per 1,000 for Latinas.”

The message was picked up as far away as Atlanta, with a story in the Atlanta Post.

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Oklahoma Watch: “Oklahoma laws foster incarceration rates”

Oklahoma imprisons more women in prison “than any other place on the globe,” according to a recent story by Barbara Palmer on Oklahoma Watch.

The story quotes a number of criminologists, including Dr. Chesney-Lind. As the story notes, she was born in Woodward, Oklahoma, although her family moved from the state after a major tornado destroyed the town where they were living.

From the story:

Some charge that it is the criminal code—including changes made over the last two decades as a result of the national War on Drugs—that ultimately is driving the female incarceration rate.

“Most of what has happened in the growth of women’s imprisonment [nationally] is around the drug war, Woodward native Meda Chesney-Lind, a professor of women’s studies at the University of Hawaii and one of the nation’s foremost experts on women and crime, said. “When you start rewriting your laws so that you criminalize women who have relationships with people who are drug dealers, or when you just ratchet up sentences dramatically for very small amounts of illicit substances,” huge increases in prison populations are the result.

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SUNY Press on “Fighting for Girls”

SUNY Press now has information online about the new book, “Fighting for Girls”.

In addition to a brief description and Table of Contents, SUNY has a link to the first chapter of the book, as well as information on desk copies and review copies.

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