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Erica Cortes
PSYC 118B
TA: Angela Nguyen
April 21, 2014
Extra Credit Film Review
Girlhood: Summarize the film, including a statement of its beginning, progress and content, and
its conclusion. How can teenagers transition from having committed homicide? Suggest
appropriate assistance that could return them to some sense of normalcy.
The film Girlhood (2003) by Liz Garbus is mainly about the life of two troubled teenage
girl inmates from Waxter Juvenile Facility in Maryland, which is known to be the institution for
the most violent juvenile criminals. It begins with a short statement that mentions that violent
crimes committed by young girls has increased since the last dace in the United States. Then the
film continues with the story of how Shanae and Megan got locked up in Waxter Juvenile
Facility. Shane is a 14-year-old African American girl that was arrested after stabbing her friend
to death at age of 12 years old. Shanae has been locked up two years longer than other girls. She
tells us in the beginning that she remembers stabbing her friend one time only, but the police
reports says that she stabbed her 3 times. Megan is a 16-year-old girl that grew up in foster care
and was incarcerated for running away and assaulting her foster brother with a box cutter. Both
of them have opened sentences, meaning that they could be released based on family
circumstances and their behavior.
Overall, Shanae is really frustrated because people look at her different like shes a coldblooded murderer. Shes really upset and says that she needs her mother, like a puppy needs her
mother. Shanae stabbed her friend with a knife after her friend came behind her and started
hitting her. Shanae reacted that way because she was sacred, blanked out, didnt know what she
was doing and never taught that her friend was going to die. She wasnt able to sleep for one year
and a half after stabbing her friend. Shanea seems really confused in the beginning and doesnt

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seem to feel guilty. She mentions that she doesnt know what to do, if to be upset or to beat
up herself. Shanae has had a difficult childhood and was raped by 5 men at the age of 11 years
old. In the contrary, Megan has lived in 11 foster care homes and has escaped from 10 and has
been arrested before for carrying a gun and beating a girl that she cut accidently with her rings
during the fight. Megan has always been an attention seeker and trouble maker. She fell in the
foster care system at age of four after her mother, Varnesa was arrested and her grandmother
couldnt take care of her anymore. Megans mother is drug addict, alcoholic, a prostitution that
gets locked up all the time.
Later, Shanae has a surprise 15th birthday party that her inmates and juvenile staff
prepared. After her party she goes home since she had won enough points to leave on weekends
with her family. After her way home she has a discussion with her parents, were she tells them
that the other girl had it easier that unless she wasnt looked up. After, Shanae has meeting with
unit supervisor, therapist, and parole officer where they talk about her progression but they tell
her that she still can go out. Later Shanae gets called to another meeting where they tell her that
she could get the opportunity to leave to a group home at Florence Crittenton and could get out
of there in 6 months. In the middle of the film Megan tries to escape from the center but gets
caught. Her escape attempt pushed the system to let Megan out. She gets placed in another foster
home and reencounters with her mother. Then she runs away from her foster home and goes to
live to an apartment by herself and loses contact with mother difinitaly because she wants to be
different from her mother. Shanae goes to Florence Critteton gets out and goes home to her
family. Her mother dies months later, but she continues with high school and graduates. In the
end, she goes to prom and gets ready to go to community college to major in law and
psychology. Megan goes to live with one of her aunts and attends counseling. The movie finishes

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with Megan singing a hurtful song that she made were she expresses her feelings about her
mother.
In my opinion, I dont think that a teenager that has committed homicide can never go
back to a sense of normalcy. Their life will never be the same again after killing someone even if
their released because wherever they go they will be seen as criminals since a crime like that will
never be erased form their record. They will always be judged and treated differently. They
would have a hard time finding a job, getting into college, receiving aid for college since a
serious offence and violent crime like a homicide will never be erased from a record no matter
what age you are. Teenagers could transition after committing homicide by receiving a second
opportunity like getting a clean record after they are released so they could redo their lives and
redeem their errors by getting an education or a job. Because is more likely for them to commit
more violent crimes and get locked up all over again if they are not doing anything because they
dont have the opportunity too since everyone is judging them. We would be assisting them by
giving them a second chance and letting them get an education or a job. Another way, to assist
teenagers who have committed homicide is offering psychological help or counseling and
helping them get their life together because I dont think is easy for them to continue their life
after killing a person. Psychological help and counseling can help them get their life back
together, could help them sleep, and feel better about themselves. They could also, transition by
providing them with different activities, sports, and procreations, such as art classes, dancing
classes, acting classes, soccer, football, basketball and etc, that would help them feel better and
forget for a moment what they did.

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