Psychological issues of juveniles in court order rehabilitation facilities

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Psychologicalissues of juveniles in court order rehabilitation facilities



Overthe past decades, the juvenile rehabilitation system has been chargedwith the responsibility of addressing juvenile delinquents. Most ofthese delinquents have been found to have mental problems, hencecausing health care concerns among various stakeholders. Researchstudies have been conducted to evaluate, assess, and determine theefficiency of these rehabilitation facilities. Recent studiesrecommend a more integrated and collaborative approach in addressingthe concern. The paper provides a comprehensive overview of thejuvenile rehabilitation system, mental issues associated withjuvenile delinquents, and the necessary intervention measures withinthe system and the community at large.

Keywords:rehabilitation centers, recidivism, juvenile justice system,screening, assessment.

Psychologicalissues of juveniles in court order rehabilitation facilities

Thepervasiveness of mental health issues among the youth in juvenilerehabilitation facilities calls for attention to detect and treat thecondition. Most young people enter a system that is ill-equipped tohelp them with their disorders. According to statistics, nearly 2million young people, under the age of 18, are apprehended annuallyin the United States[ CITATION Mil14 l 1033 ].Approximately70 percent of those arrested have a mental problem[ CITATION Mil14 l 1033 ].Without appropriate care and treatment, these children continue ontheir course of delinquency and have a higher chance of developinginto adult crime. A comprehensive response to a court-involvedjuvenile rehabilitation system with psychological needs can helpbring out healthier persons. The paper aims at addressing thepsychological issues involved in juvenile rehabilitation systems andmeasures being taken to lessen the widespread health concern.

Significanceof the study

Increasedcases of young delinquents being sent to juvenile rehabilitationsystems have caused mixed reactions from parents, guardians, andjuvenile systems[ CITATION Bar131 l 1033 ].Psychological issues among juveniles have been on the increase in therehabilitation centers[ CITATION Gri12 l 1033 ].Nevertheless, the juvenile system has failed to address them due tothe lack of proper mechanisms and health care plans[ CITATION Und16 l 1033 ].Research studies have been conducted to determine measures that canbe used to alleviate the heightened cases.

Historyand background

Overthe past years, there was an insignificant distinction of how thecriminal and justice systems treated adults and children. In mostcases, age was considered when determining the suitable punishmenthowever, juveniles were subjected to the same condemnation just asthe adults, including a death sentence[ CITATION Bar131 l 1033 ].At the beginning of the 20th century,the attitude towards juvenile offenders started to change and led tothe formation of a separate juvenile court system[ CITATION Mil14 l 1033 ].

Studieson the social and behavioral aspect of children cite increaseddelinquency cases to poverty, abuse and neglect, drugs, and truancy[ CITATION Gri12 l 1033 ].There are higher rates of juvenile detentions and rehabilitationsamong the minority racial. However, the society has undergone drasticand extreme social changes to a more complex and dysfunctional state.The juvenile system has been pushed to address the current societalissues such as suicide, teen pregnancy, and use of drugs, amongothers. Unfortunately, the juvenile justice system has developed tobe a dumping area for all the problems mentioned above. In a measureto treat and rehabilitate the young delinquents, the family court hassuffered adverse financial problems to support the court-orderedrehabilitation programs. As a result of the skyrocketing mental casesamong the youth in these facilities, the respective governmentauthorities have begun the implementation of various policies to dealwith the rising health concern[ CITATION Und16 l 1033 ].


Accordingto research studies, approximately 20 percent of the youth in theUnited States suffers from psychological disorders[ CITATION Bar131 l 1033 ].However, nearly 70 percent of youngpeople in juvenile rehabilitation facilities suffer from mentalconditions[ CITATION Mil14 l 1033 ].Most of the children entering the rehabilitation centers with abehavioral problem manifest an underlying mental disorder. As thepercentage of children spending time in these juvenile systemsincreases,health problems pose a great hurdle in the success of therehabilitation process. In most instances, parents or guardians ofthe mentally ill children seek legal and medical interventions so asto get the necessary assistance. Contact with the juvenilerehabilitation system could have an adverse repercussion on thechild’s well-being and condition in the center.

Regrettably,most of these facilities are ill-equipped to handle mental and healthneeds for the young delinquents[ CITATION Bar131 l 1033 ].Additionally, the juvenile justice system workers may not have theknowledge that the young delinquents’ behavior might be related topsychological health issues hence fail to take the necessary steps.Juveniles are at a higher risk of being involved in substance abuseand experience anxiety and mood disorders. “Someof the common conditions among young delinquents in juvenile systemsinclude depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),substance abuse and bipolar disorder”[ CITATION Mil14 l 1033 ].Evidence from research studies also indicates that over 90 percent ofyoung delinquents suffer from severe trauma[ CITATION Und16 l 1033 ].

Mentalhealth disorders occur and manifest differently among the childrenthus, pose a great challenge in treating each case. Research studieshave inferred on the importance of individualized treatment methodsif the young delinquents are to be put into rehabilitation[ CITATION Gri12 l 1033 ].From their childhood to adolescence, children’s brain grows at adrastic rate and during this time span, inappropriate and ineffectivemental intervention measures could result in long-term adverseimpacts. Therefore, early detection and treatment of thesepsychologicaldisorders could help in shaping the young delinquents in becomingresponsible and reliable people in the society.

Psychologicalhealth assessment and treatment

Accordingto research studies, mental disorders are far much complicated andchallenging to treat in youth as compared to adults[ CITATION Bar131 l 1033 ].Young people and adolescents have a distinct developmental periodthat is characterized by radical change and growth thus mentaldisorders in young delinquents are subject to these interruptions.Screening and assessment strategies among young juveniles areparamount in addressing psychological issues in justicerehabilitation facilities.


Thescreening process helps identify mental problems among the youth soas to warrant early medical care and evaluation. Young people whoreceive immediate attention and screening procedure have a highchance of their problems being detected and treated. Some juvenilesystems such as the Pennsylvania juvenile centers have initiatedmechanisms for identifying mental problems among young people andusually provide further medical assessments[ CITATION Und16 l 1033 ].The use of the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument has helpedaddress the issue in a more efficient manner.


Assessmententails a broad and intensive examination of the behaviors andproblems manifesting in young delinquents to determine the nextaction of placement and treatment. Some juvenile rehabilitationfacilities have provided a unique approach to psychological issuesamong young people. For instance, assessment and evaluation of youngdelinquents are done based on the type or degree of crime committed.For instance, the 2009 Tennessee law requires that all juvenilescharged with delinquencies, equivalent to an adult felony, be placedunder a court-ordered psychiatric assessment[ CITATION Mil14 l 1033 ].


Thecommunity-based treatment provides an alternative diversion forjuveniles who do not pose any peril to the general public. Assessmentprocedures accompanied with diversion programs provide earlydetection and treatment of psychological disorders[ CITATION Gri12 l 1033 ].Efficient diversion policies require appropriate and sufficientcommunity-based health care services and substitutes toincarceration. Detention of young delinquents may have an adverseimpact on the mental health state of juveniles by heightening thecommon symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

Moreover,access to medical health services after being released helpsaccomplish the comprehensive treatment plan. Such follow-up treatmentprocedures are essential to prevent recidivism and return to thejuvenile centers[ CITATION Mil14 l 1033 ].Therefore, community-based diversion measures provide the recreation,support, and necessary health care services[ CITATION Und16 l 1033 ].On the other hand, juvenile justice system receives a lot of supportfrom community health care expertise in dealing with mentalconditions involving young delinquents. Increased cases of juvenileshave prompted various collaborations with the aim of addressing thepervasive mental health challenges faced by juveniles.

Recommendationsand Conclusion

Overthe recent years, detention and incarceration have become necessaryfor a considerable portion of juveniles. However, these methods haveadverse social impacts such as recidivism and persistent offending.According to research studies, alternative community-basedinterventions have a favorable economic and social consequences.Moreover, they have been identified as efficient and fruitful methodsfor rehabilitating juveniles with serious crimes such as violentcrimes. It is important to bring combined efforts of the health careservices and the juvenile systems to ensure effectiveness in solvingthe issue. Research studies suggest that the community currentlyaddresses mental health issues among children thus require aredefinition of roles played the juvenile rehabilitation systems.

Firstand foremost, the juvenile rehabilitation system ought to be involvedin the identification of mental health problems and diverting thejuveniles to the community. Additionally, the system should alsocarry out assessment procedures to determine the suitablerehabilitation plan and treatment for the mentally ill juveniles.Research studies have concluded that it is better for the juvenilejustice system to shift focus from instigating new interventionmeasures to redefining the roles played by the system. The juvenilejustice system will accomplish its functions through a collaborativesystem.


Bartol, C. R., &amp Bartol, A. M. (2013). Introduction to Forensic Psychology: Research and Application. New York: Sage.

Grigorenko, E. (2012). Handbook of Juvenile Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry. New York: Springer.

Miller, M. K., Chamberlain, J., &amp Wingrove, T. (2014). Psychology, Law, and the Wellbeing of Children. New York: Oxford University Press.

Underwood, L. A., &amp Washington, A. (2016). Mental Illness and Juvenile Offenders. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13 (2), 1-228.

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