Monday, November 30, 2015

Responding to the Mental Health & Substance Abuse Needs of Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: Ohio's Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice Initiative

Discusses how Ohio's responded to the mental health and substance abuse needs of youth in the juvenile justice system by establishing the Ohio's Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice Initiative. The consequences of a willful neglect of some of our most vulnerable citizens were significant and severe. Many individuals ended up on the streets, and many more found themselves in local jails. Over time, jails became de facto mental health facilities. Unfortunately, jails were, and often continue to be, ill-prepared to effectively screen, assess, and treat individuals with mental health concerns. 

The majority of juvenile justice involved (JJI) youth has a history of behavioral health (mental health or substance use) problems. Multiple studies estimate that between 65% to 75% of JJI youth have at least one behavioral health disorder, and 20% to 30% report suffering from a serious behavioral disorder. Although the majority of JJI youth has a history of behavioral health issues and trauma, many have not received any treatment when they enter the system. 

Further, local jurisdictions are often ill-equipped to accurately assess youth for behavioral health problems and provide appropriate treatment. Thus, those issues persist and complicate efforts to reduce future delinquency. Further, substance use issues are considered a direct risk factor for criminal behavior, but mental health issues are typically not. Mental health issues, however, can certainly affect responsivity to programming designed to reduce future delinquency. 

Americans support juvenile justice reform that focuses on rehabilitation in place of incarceration. The Ohio's Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice (BHJJ) Initiative was established to address the juvenile mental health and substance abuse issues.

Purchase full article at:

  • 1Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education. 

No comments:

Post a Comment