Ecological Ruptures and Strain: Girls, Juvenile Justice, and Phone Removal
Girls in the juvenile justice system routinely have their cell phones and internet access removed as a part of court orders. Building on feminist criminology and ecological systems theory, this paper will demonstrate that phone removal causes a rupture of girls’ digital ecology. This rupture exacerbates strains conducive to crime and victimization. Findings are generated from an ethnographic study that took place in a Northeastern United States city. Forty-two girls took part in focus groups and a series of interviews, and 22 practitioners took part in semi-structured interviews. This research shows that phones act as a positive and protective force supporting girls through feelings of safety, helping them cope with challenging events at home and on the street. Understanding the phone as a part of a broader ecology contextualizes why girls would subsequently commit crimes to restore their digital ecology.
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