Trauma Among Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: Critical Issues and New Directions

Print More

National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice

In the juvenile justice system, the prevalence of youth exposed to trauma is believed to be higher than that of similarly aged youth in the general population. One study found that over 90 percent of juvenile detainees reported having experienced at least one traumatic incident.

With this in mind, the report suggests that youth be screened for trauma at their earliest point of contact with the juvenile justice system. Funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of its Models For Change initiative, the report also reviews the trends in addressing mental health problems caused by traumatic experiences. The use of standardized mental health assessment instruments has become more common in juvenile justice systems, and as a result, so has awareness of the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among the youth in those systems. Free. 8 pages. (866) 962-6455,