This policy brief says that not enough is being done by the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems to address the issues of youths who have experienced traumatic events.
Between 75 and 93 percent of youth who enter the juvenile justice system have experienced at least one traumatic event, the authors say. Those events include physical abuse, community violence, neglect and loss of a caregiver.
They point out that being separated from their families or other positive influences in their lives exacerbate the impact of those traumas.
The brief discusses how trauma effects brain development, and how youths who have experienced trauma are more likely to be arrested.
The brief argues that public health systems need to better address children’s trauma both before and during their involvement in the justice system. Suggested strategies include improving screening for and reporting of traumatic events, and avoiding “further traumatization within the justice system.”