A Review of Best Practices in Treating Mentally Ill Juveniles in the Criminal Justice System

Kimberly Gentry Sperber, University of Cincinnati
Holly Atkins, University of Cincinnati

The population of juvenile offenders with mental illness is exploding. A collaboration among juvenile courts, community mental health boards, and treatment providers has identified a gap in services for this population of offenders. Serving individuals with mental health and behavioral problems presents special concerns for corrections. This population has unique needs to be addressed -- especially in the instance of juvenile offenders. The incarceration of mentally ill juvenile offenders in facilities that fail to offer appropriate mental health services results in a cycle of continuing contact with the criminal justice system. Based upon a new, innovative program aimed at treating delinquent youth who have serious mental health issues, this presentation will provide a review of the best practices for such a program.

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Updated 05/20/2006