UC Law Constitutional Quarterly


Cheryl Hanna


In recent years, the number of female juvenile offenders has been increasing at a faster pace than that of their male counterparts. This Article explores the link between criminality and competition among women. Specifically, it examines the role that involvement in organized sports, or conversely, lack of competition, plays in the development of criminal behavior. Part I addresses the theme of female competition, violence, and sports, and draws conclusions from secondary interdisciplinary research and conversations with incarcerated juvenile females. Part II focuses upon Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and suggests that the rationale behind gender equity in sports has enormous implications for the future of juvenile justice. This section examines the traditional rationales for denying women the right to vote, admission to the bar, physical freedom, and the right to participate in sports. The author argues that by participating in sports, girls and women will learn to interact with each other and compete in positive ways. Further, channeling the aggression of young women and girls through participation in organized sports may lead to the rehabilitation of criminal girls. In conclusion, the author calls for the implementation of sports programs for girls in juvenile detention facilities, to teach teamwork, and to channel competitiveness.