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The Justice System for Juvenile Cases

In 2000, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice reported to Congress that between 50 percent and 75 percent of incarcerated youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and at least half of them have a recurring substance abuse problem because communities lack integrated plans bringing social services, law enforcement, and health care providers together (Report, 2000). The report found that 9 percent to 13 percent of those in juvenile facilities had serious emotional disturbances; 11,000 boys and 17,000 girls demonstrated suicidal behavior in juvenile facilities each year; and 75 percent of juveniles are in facilities not conforming to basic suicide prevention guidelines. The report also found that juveniles with mental health problems are more likely to suffer mistreatment and mismanagement if they are colored, female, and sexual-minority youths (Report, 2000). Juveniles of color are disproportionately at risk, and are either not diagnosed at all or are misdiagnosed. Seventy-five percent of girls in the court system have been sexually abused, and girls are more likely to be depressed, practice self-mutilation, attempt suicide, and suffer from anorexia nervosa or bulimia, according to the report. Eighty percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender juveniles report high levels of social and emotional isolation in juvenile facilities. Sexual-minority juveniles suffer verbal and physical abuse from staff and other inmates, and have little in the way of services provided for them.

The report found that structured programs for juveniles can reduce recidivism by 25 percent to 80 percent (Report, 2000). This has also been found by other studies, and juvenile offenders are now often placed in private institutions where special needs can be identified and responded to (McMillan, 1999, S14). The report recommended that mental health professionals should support culturally relevant treatment of colored juveniles and girls, ...

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The Justice System for Juvenile Cases. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:31, July 20, 2017, from
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