The Latina penalty: Juvenile correctional attitudes toward the Latina juvenile offender

Lisa Pasko, Vera Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study investigates perceptions of Latina juvenile offenders among juvenile probation officers, judges, psychologists, and other juvenile correctional decision makers. Using in-depth interviews with 62 juvenile justice professionals, this article examines how gender and culture are constructed and how such constructions can lead correctional decision makers to stereotypical and oftentimes punitive recommendations and responses. Overall, the article finds that (a) the majority of professionals felt that Latina offenders engaged more often in sexual promiscuity, gang membership, and violence in comparison to their non-Latina counterparts; (b) the majority of professionals felt frustration or antipathy toward working with Latina offenders; and (c) few interviewees could articulate an understanding of what gender-specific or culturally specific programming might entail for Latina girls, nor could they identify such options in their districts. We conclude with recommendations for improving juvenile justice services directed at Latina offenders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-291
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2018


  • Gender
  • Latina girls
  • female delinquents
  • juvenile justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Law


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