Source: (2012) Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 39 No. 4 447-460

Estimates of mental health disorders among youth involved with the juvenile justice system range from 50% to 75%, while general population prevalence is 9% to 20%. The system is ill-equipped to supervise these juveniles, and many are funneled deeper into the system due to noncompliance and often preventable problems. The authors used a retrospective design and evaluated a pre-adjudication diversion initiative utilizing specialized juvenile probation officers in Texas. Use of specialized supervision was effective at diverting youth with mental health needs from adjudication and increased participation and access to services by juveniles with such needs. Youth who received specialized supervision were significantly less likely to be adjudicated for the initial offense than those in a comparison group who received traditional supervision.