Research News

UW-Madison’s Winn contributes chapter to new ‘Girls in Justice’ book

January 15, 2015

UW-Madison’s Maisha T. Winn is the author of an essay that appears in a new book titled, “Girls in Justice.”

Winn is UW-Madison’s Susan J. Cellmer Chair in English Education, and is a professor of language and literacy with the top-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Girls In Justice book coverA preview of “Girls in Justice,” which is authored by Richard Ross, begins: “With appallingly high rates of abuse in their histories, exploitation around every corner, and a very different set of needs once ‘inside,’ girls are brought into the juvenile justice system by a unique set of social forces and experience incarceration much differently than boys. ‘Girls in Justice,’ the much-anticipated follow-up to ‘Juvenile in Justice,’ turns our focus specifically to girls in the system, and not a moment too soon. While the number of youth in the juvenile justice system has steadily declined, girls are a growing share of youth arrested, detained and committed.”

The preview continues: “A rare, multidimensional look at these girls’ vulnerable lives, ‘Girls in Justice,’ speaks to the unique issues they face with both hard-hitting words and Richard Ross’ evocative images. Essays from some of the top girls’ criminology scholars and advocates in the U.S. give readers a picture of their work with young women in the system, as well as cold, hard facts about the issue. As with ‘Juvenile in Justice,’ the photographs are accompanied by girls’ first-person stories, as told to Ross in interviews from over 250 detention facilities across the U.S. Even for those who work with girls in the system daily, this book is sure to expand your understanding of the realities of these girls’ lives.”

Maisha T. Winn
The section authored by Winn is titled, "Between 'Black girls rock' and a hard place," and it examines racial disparities in the punishment of black girls in the juvenile justice system.

Ross is a photographer, researcher and professor of art at UC-Santa Barbara whose Juvenile In Justice project documents the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed in a range of facilities that treat, punish and, sometimes, harm those within. His hope is that by making these images available, members of the public will begin to develop a better understanding of the conditions that exist.

In May 2013, Winn helped bring Ross to the UW-Madison campus for a talk about his powerful and internationally acclaimed photo exhibition, “Juvenile in Justice.”