Mental Illness and Juvenile Offenders

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Feb 18;13(2):228. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13020228.


Within the past decade, reliance on the juvenile justice system to meet the needs of juvenile offenders with mental health concerns has increased. Due to this tendency, research has been conducted on the effectiveness of various intervention and treatment programs/approaches with varied success. Recent literature suggests that because of interrelated problems involved for youth in the juvenile justice system with mental health issues, a dynamic system of care that extends beyond mere treatment within the juvenile justice system is the most promising. The authors provide a brief overview of the extent to which delinquency and mental illness co-occur; why treatment for these individuals requires a system of care; intervention models; and the juvenile justice systems role in providing mental health services to delinquent youth. Current and future advancements and implications for practitioners are provided.

Keywords: adolescent; juvenile justice; mental illness; treatment programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child Advocacy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology
  • Juvenile Delinquency / rehabilitation
  • Juvenile Delinquency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology