Black Scholar Examines Trends in Violence Among Teenage Black Girls

Research by Nikki Jones, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, finds that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of school-age African-American girls who have been arrested on criminal charges relating to personal violence. But Dr. Jones discovered that the number of incidents of violence has not increased, just the number of arrests. Zero-tolerance policies in schools and the increasing tendency of school administrators to hand over their problems to the criminal justice system have resulted in a rapid rise in arrests, particularly for black females.

Jones’ research is published in her new book, Fighting for Girls: New Perspectives on Gender and Violence (State University of New York Press). This book builds on her earlier work on fighting among black teenage girls in Philadelphia. That work, published by Rutgers University Press in 2009, was titled Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner-City Violence.

Dr. Jones holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Saint Joseph’s University. She earned a second master’s degree and a Ph.D. in criminology and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has been on the faculty at UCSB since 2004.

For her pioneering work, Dr. Jones recently received the New Scholar Award from the Division on Women and Crime of the American Society of Criminology.