State Demographics

In 1996, Minnesota's youth population under age 18 was approximately 1,247,000 (Casey Foundation 1998).

Approximately 5 percent of the State's children were living in families with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level in 1995. Further, it is estimated that in 1995, approximately 19 percent of Minnesota's children under age 13 were living in working-poor families or families where at least one parent was working 50 or more hours a week but the family's income was still below the poverty level (Casey Foundation 1998).

Minnesota ranked 4th in the country in terms of teen birth rate for 1995. This same year, the birth rate in the State was approximately 19 births per 1,000 young women ages 15-17. This was up from 16 births per 1,000 young women in 1985 (Casey Foundation 1998).

For the 1993-94 school year, young women represented 43 percent (5,288) of the total number of youth dropping out of school in the 7th -12th grades. For this same year, young women represented 49 percent (175,610) of the total student enrollment (Minnesota Department of Education 1993-1994, p. 4). Further, an estimated 100,000 student suspensions occurred in the State during 1993-94. Of this total, suspensions for male students outnumbered suspensions of female students three to one (Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning 1996, p. 1).

Overview of the Juvenile Justice System

In Minnesota, all juvenile cases involving youth under 18 are heard by a juvenile court judge, and youthful offenders do not have a right to a jury trial. The only exception to the waiver of a jury trial for a juvenile pertains to Minnesota's Extended Jurisdiction law. The juvenile court also has jurisdiction over all child abuse and neglect cases (Minnesota Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee 1997, p. 1).

The Formula Grants Program for the State is housed in the Department of Economic Security.

Offense Patterns and Processing of Juvenile Female Offenders

The following statistics give an overview of the information available on female offending and processing patterns in Minnesota:

  • Minnesota has seen gradual increases in the number of young women apprehended for more serious person and property offenses. For instance, the number of juvenile females apprehended for serious crimes increased from 3,725 in 1973 to 4,477 in 1992. The number of young women apprehended for violent crimes increased from 97 in 1973 to 175 in 1992, while the number of young women apprehended for property crime offenses increased from 3,628 in 1973 to 4,302 in 1992 (Minnesota Department of Economic Security 1994, Exhibit J).

  • Females represented 23 percent of all youth admitted to detention and 12 percent of all youth committed in the State in 1992 (Poe-Yamagata and Butts 1996, p. 19).

Table 12. Minnesota Top 10 Female Offenses, 1991



Other part II offenses


Other juvenile offenses

1,896 19.7


776 8


559 5.8


415 4.3

Other assaults

361 3.7


248 2.6


173 1.8

Car theft

155 1.6


116 1.2

Source: Minnesota Department of Economic Security (1994)

Approach to Female Offenders

The approach in Minnesota to the issue of appropriate services for young women has been a two-pronged effort. While solutions to the issue have been developed through the State's Department of Corrections, the State Advisory Group, working with staff from the Minnesota Department of Economic Security, has also used Formula Grant and Challenge Activity dollars to fund specific programming efforts in the State.

Office of Planning for Female Offenders. In 1978, a group of women concerned with the lack of services for adult female offenders in Minnesota met, under the direction of the Commissioner of Corrections, to formulate recommendations to address this service delivery deficit. As a result of their advocacy efforts, the State legislature passed legislation in 1981 that formed the Advisory Task Force on the Female Offender to address this issue and hired a full-time Director of Planning for Female Offenders within the Department of Corrections (Scully-Whitaker 1997, p. 1).

In 1990, this legislation was amended to include adolescent female offenders and adult women offenders, and the Office of Planning for Female Offenders within the Department of Corrections formed the Adolescent Female Subcommittee of the Advisory Task Force on the Female Offender in Corrections. Specifically, this new legislation required that both adult and juvenile women shall be "provided a range and quality of programming substantially equivalent to programming offered male persons charged with or convicted of crimes or delinquencies"; that programs for female offenders be based "upon the special needs of female offenders"; and that counties submit annual plans to the commissioner of corrections that describe those services provided to female offenders (Minnesota Legislature 1990, p. 1).

Also in 1990, the first annual Minnesota Conference on Adolescent Females was held in Minneapolis. Since 1990, this conference has been held annually; the most recent conference took place in April 1998.

In early 1993, the Adolescent Female Subcommittee formed work groups to assess the needs of adolescent females in Minnesota and to formulate recommendations to meet those needs. This work is continuing still with an emphasis on trying to secure funding for a full continuum of programming for young women.

To assist, in 1994, the Minnesota legislature made funds available to hire a full-time Planner for Juvenile Females within the Department of Corrections (Scully-Whitaker 1997, p. 1).

Minnesota Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. In 1996, the Minnesota Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC) used funding obtained through the OJJDP's Challenge Activity E program to fund the following efforts:

  • Department of Correction's Annual Conference on Adolescent Females. This is a nationally recognized conference on the latest trends and developments in the area of serving the unique needs of at-risk adolescent female offenders and young women.

  • MELD Program. This program, based at the Hennepin County Home School, assists teenage fathers in increasing their confidence and competence as parents.

  • 180 Degrees, Inc., Program. This program is designed to intervene in the lives of juvenile female offenders by providing them contact with adult women offenders at the Shakopee Women's Correctional Facility.

  • YWCA of Duluth Program. This is an intensive program designed to build self-esteem as a way of preventing or reducing at-risk behaviors by young women in the Duluth area. Specifically, the program provides outreach to families and self-esteem programming.

In 1998, the JJAC intends to continue funding for these programs (Minnesota Department of Economic Security 1998).


Annie E. Casey Foundation. 1998. KIDS COUNT Online Data Service. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.

Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning. 1996. Student Suspension and Expulsion: Report to the Legislature. Office of Monitoring and Compliance, St. Paul, MN.

Minnesota Department of Economic Security. 1994. Minnesota Three Year Comprehensive State Plan of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.

Minnesota Department of Economic Security. 1995. Minnesota 1995 Challenge Activity E Grant Application. Submitted to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.

Minnesota Department of Economic Security. 1996. Minnesota 1996 State Challenge Grant Programs. St. Paul, MN.

Minnesota Department of Education. 1993-1994. Information on Minnesota High School Graduates and Dropouts. St. Paul, MN.

Minnesota Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. 1997. Minnesota's Juvenile Justice System and Crime Statistics. St. Paul, MN.

Minnesota Legislature. 1990. Minnesota Statute on Parity for Female Offenders. St. Paul, MN.

Poe-Yamagata, E., and J.A. Butts. 1996. Female Offenders in the Juvenile Justice System: Statistics Summary. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC.

Scully-Whitaker, Mary. 1997. Female Offender Fact Sheet. Office of Planning for Female Offenders, St. Paul, MN.

Juvenile Female Offenders: A Status of the States Report October 1998