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NCJ Number: 187331 Find in a Library
Title: Essay on "Treatment": A Legal View
Journal: Juvenile Correctional Mental Health Report  Volume:1  Issue:1  Dated:November-December 2000  Pages:1-2-6-8
Author(s): Fred Cohen
Date Published: November 2000
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This essay focuses on historical and current aspects of legal issues related to mental health services for juvenile offenders.
Abstract: Federal litigation today is not the agent of institutional change that it once was. The currently more passive role of the Federal Government will probably not change in the foreseeable future. In addition, Federal court decisions such as Santana v. Collazo have stated only the desirability of treatment, but not the necessity for treatment. Nevertheless, the Santana decision did state that the 1983 decision of Youngberg v. Romeo applies and that juveniles in custody, as well as civilly committed mentally retarded persons, have a minimal, constitutional right to training designed to avoid needless restraint and to preserve personal safety. Central legal issues relate to two questions. The first question is whether juveniles who are in custody in the juvenile or adult correctional system have a right to mental health treatment. The second question is whether that right to treatment is doctrinally or conceptually different from the right to medical or mental health care possessed by adults in penal confinement. Judicial decisions related to this issue include Estelle v. Gamble in 1976, Jackson v. Indiana in 1972, Alexander S. v. Boys in 1995, the Youngberg decision, Miller v. Natalucci-Persichetti in 1992, Bell v. Wolfish in 1979, and Nelson v. Heyne in 1972. The analysis concludes that the general acceptance of a need for early detection and intervention and of a high incidence of emotional and mental disorders among youth in official custody should become benchmarks for assessments of the duty of care. Finally, a child’s needs should not drive a custodial disposition; instead, the child’s needs should be paramount after that decision occurs. Notes and 2 suggested readings
Main Term(s): Juvenile mental health services
Index Term(s): Appellate court decisions; Court ordered institutional reform; Offender mental health services; Right to treatment; US Supreme Court decisions
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