Mental Illness In The Juvenile Justice System

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In our criminal justice system, juveniles are treated far differently than adults, but many suffer similar issues. Amongst juvenile offenders, there is an overwhelming number of youths who have a mental illness, making it necessary for actions to be taken to help individuals. In the system, mental illnesses must be identified do crucial services can be provided to provide reoffending. Our juvenile justice system needs to identify the needs and concerns of mental illness, address the types that classify, determine the link of this to juvenile offenders, in order to study if they are being provided adequate services, as well as what needs to be improved and changed for the future. In order to address the issue of mental illness in juvenile …show more content…
The first area being “juvenile therapeutic jurisprudence” or realizing that children are not mature making them more vulnerable to making decisions that are not in their best interests (Ungar, 2012). This idea is how the need for mental health services to treat individuals was established, and now an individual’s mental help is even taken into considering at sentencing. The next is “psychopharmacological and psychiatric concerns”, meaning that in society we attempt to treat and solve are needs with different types of drugs (Ungar, 2012). The third concern relating to mental illness and juvenile offenders is rehabilitation. For juvenile offenders, our society uses a punitive approach in hopes of stopping a juvenile from reoffending (Ungar, 2012). Fourth is our concern that the system has a disproportionally higher rate of contact with minorities due to their lack of education and being places at an economic disadvantage. Lastly, is our general overall concern of mental health within our culture and how society interrupts it. An individual’s delinquency and mental health problems are most likely to first be identified in the offenders’ school. These steps are necessary in helping juvenile offenders through mental illness, along with helping to identify those …show more content…
Hart-Kerkhoffs decided to study the frequency of mental disorders in a particular type of juvenile offenders, sexual offenders in relationship to the recidivism rate. Two separate groups of juvenile offenders, one with child victims, and the other with teen or adult victims were studied, and of these groups 75% of them were found to have a mental disorder (Hart-Kerkhoffs, 2015). This shows the overwhelming rate of mental disorders amongst juvenile offenders, even finding more than one disease in many offenders. Additionally, two thirds of the youths were functionally weakened (Hart-Kerkhoffs, 2015). It is even estimated that a significant of rapes are committed juveniles, so that “26% of all sex offenders… and 36% of all sex offenders with juvenile victims were minors” (Hart-Kerkhoffs, 2015). Some studies do show a relationship with mental disorders and juvenile delinquency, but only few studies have actually addressed the commonness of mental disorders in juvenile sex offenders. This also makes it the need for assistance for these individuals in order to aid in their development, and to attempt to prevent them from

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