The Care Factor
National Girls Health and Justice Institute: Pink Shackles: Locking down and Freeing Up Girls
Concurrent Session
September 23, 2021 | 4:00 pm | Concurrent Session II: 4 of 5

Session Speakers

Girls of color are the fastest growing part of the justice system and medically sickest. What does the research show us – and how do we help?

Leslie Acoca, MA, MFT is a leading researcher, advocate and psychologist. She is a Yale graduate, a Stoneleigh Fellow, and the recipient of the Dalai Lama Compassionate Hero award. She is a Central American Immigrant and a mother.

Her mission and that of National Girls Health and Justice Institute, is to end the incarceration of girls by improving their health and trauma care. Her campaign, ZERO MEANS ZERO, refers to the goal of eliminating juvenile girl incarceration through access to trauma care for every U.S. and Central American migrant girl.

Acoca has interviewed over 6,000 incarcerated girls – some as young as 8 years old – in 22 states. Her latest research profiles the trauma needs of young migrant girls detained in ICE facilities to save lives and improve girls’ medical and psychological well-being. As a result, she developed the Girls Health Screen, the only validated medical and trauma screen for incarcerated girls that ensures they get medical care. Her research shows that improving medical care for detained girls can reduce recidivism by 72%.

In this session, Acoca defines the problems of incarcerated girls through stories and data and offers a clear, defined pathway for giving girls healthy, crime free futures.

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