Essay on Juvenile Offenders with Mental Illness

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Juvenile Offenders with Mental Illness
The juvenile justice system faces a significant challenge in identifying and responding to the psychiatric disorders of detained youth because research has shown that it is difficult to define the best means to use and enhance the scarce mental health resources (Kessler & Kraus, 2007). According to Cocozza and Skowyra (2000) “Children’s and adolescents’ mental health needs have historically been addressed inadequately in policy, practice, and research and have only the number of youth with mental illness and their level of unmet needs recognized” (p 4). Furthermore, that the juvenile justice system has gone from treatment and rehabilitation to retribution and punishment, that the prevalence is higher
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Mentally ill juvenile offender typology & characteristics
Disruptive Behavior Disorders. Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) form a cluster of childhood disorders considered to be “disruptive behavior disorders” (American Psychiatric Association, 2004). Although most violent adolescents have more than one mental disorder and they may have internalizing disorders, for example depression or substance abuse, there appear to be increasingly higher rates of physical aggression found in these adolescents who experience disruptive behavior disorders than for those with other mental disorders. The fact that violent juvenile offenders are more likely to have these diagnoses is not surprising, because impulsive and/or aggressive behaviors are part of their diagnostic criteria. Additionally, there is relatively high co-morbidity with substance abuse disorders, which are also associated with juvenile violence (Moeller, 2001). Individuals with conduct disorder have the following features but this list is not inclusive for example they may have little empathy and little concern for the feelings, wishes, and wellbeing of others, respond with aggression, may be callous and lack appropriate feelings of guilt re remorse, self-esteem may be low despite a projected…

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