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Need for Attention to Mental Health of Young Offenders

Kessler, Carol
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Lancet. Published online May 21, 2002. Http://

In this commentary, Carol Kessler notes that the number of young people in the juvenile justice system who have mental disorders is of increasing concern. In many cases, mental disorders lead to behaviors that result in young people entering the justice system. Yet there is a widespread failure to screen for mental disorders at arrest, sentencing, or confinement. Moreover, in general, judicial professionals have little or no training in mental health, and youth correctional facilities lack qualified mental-health staff and appropriate treatment facilities. With all of this in mind, Kessler urges legislative and program reforms to attend to the mental health needs of young offenders.


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