The Texas Juvenile Justice System

3102 Words Apr 27th, 2015 13 Pages
Abstract Juvenile justice settings, especially in Texas, were not designed as sites for comprehensive psychological and psychiatric treatment of adolescents’ mental disorders. On national, state, and local levels there has been a major increase in the interest of mental health needs within the juvenile justice system. Evidence-based research and data has become more available with societies interest into this matter. A continuous struggle with Texas policymakers and officials is identifying and properly treating mentally ill juveniles and keeping them out of the justice system. Acknowledging established data and comparing it to current Texas mandates helps seek recommendations for improvement within all levels and jurisdictions of the Texas juvenile justice system.

Introduction The Texas juvenile justice system is comprised of 166 juvenile probation departments serving all 254 Texas counties. Approximately 98% of youth in the Texas juvenile justice system are provided services through their local probation departments. On an annual basis the Texas juvenile justice system receive over 60,000 youth referrals. One juvenile could have multiple referrals within that time. Question is how many of these juveniles are classified as mentally ill. The number is unknown due to adolescents not being diagnosed until they are in their later teens. Departments, agencies and residential facilities provide numerous services, but only a small number of facilities offer programs and housing…
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