Prescribing Psychotropic Medications for Justice-Involved Juveniles

J Correct Health Care. 2023 Apr;29(2):94-108. doi: 10.1089/jchc.21.09.0086. Epub 2023 Jan 13.


Psychiatric disorders are exceedingly common in justice-involved youth. Relevant justice systems are varied, evolving, complex, and underserved. The intent of this article is to highlight the research and best practices related to managing the psychiatric disorders of justice-involved youths with a particular focus on pharmacotherapy. We review relevant features of the justice system and related case law, how prescribing for these individuals varies from both community settings and for incarcerated adults, effective assessment and medication selection, informed consent, management of nonadherence and medication diversion, and applied evidence for specific psychiatric problems common in these patients. Psychiatrists caring for justice-involved youth will benefit from tools, like this article, for training and orientation to provide timely and effective treatment services and consultation in these settings.

Keywords: justice; prescribing; psychiatry; psychopharmacology; youth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Psychiatry*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use


  • Psychotropic Drugs