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NCJ Number: 206991 Find in a Library
Title: Incarceration of Youth Who Are Waiting for Community Mental Health Services in the United States
Corporate Author: US Congress
House Cmtte on Government Reform and Oversight
United States of America
Date Published: July 2004
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: US Congress
Washington, DC 20515
Sale Source: US Congress
House Cmtte on Government Reform and Oversight
Washington, DC 20515
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report provides national data on the inappropriate incarceration of youth who are awaiting access to community mental health services.
Abstract: Prior to this study, there had been no nationwide study of the extent of the incarceration of youth with serious mental disorders while they are waiting for mental health treatment. The current study adapted for nationwide use a 2002 New Mexico survey of such detentions in that State. The survey requested that detention-center administrators provide data on "youth with mental illness who do not need to be in detention." Specifically, the survey asked for data on any youth "waiting for mental health services in the community, including placement in a treatment facility ... [who] leave the detention center as soon as appropriate treatment services become available." A total of 698 facilities that provide secure juvenile detention services responded to the survey by November 2003, constituting three-fourths of juvenile detention facilities in the United States. The survey found that two-thirds of juvenile detention facilities hold juveniles who are awaiting community mental health services. These include children as young as 7 years old. Over a 6-month period, nearly 15,000 juveniles were in detention because there was no bed available in a community mental health facility. Two- thirds of the facilities that held juveniles awaiting mental health services reported that some of the juveniles had attempted suicide or attacked others in the facility. The cost for such detentions was estimated at $100 million each year. Although this survey was not intended to determine why so many juveniles are incarcerated while waiting for community mental health services, the respondents cited the lack of their community's mental health residential treatment, inpatient psychiatric care, outpatient mental health care, and foster care services. This report concludes that major improvements in community mental health services are urgently needed. 3 tables
Main Term(s): Juvenile detention
Index Term(s): Juvenile detention reform; Juvenile mental health services; Mentally ill offenders
Note: Downloaded September 27, 2004.
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