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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193915 Find in a Library
Title: Obstacles to Providing Effective Mental Health Training in Juvenile Corrections
Journal: Juvenile Correctional Mental Health Report  Volume:1  Issue:5  Dated:July/August 2001  Pages:65-66,72-73,77,78
Author(s): Lisa M. Boesky Ph.D.
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 6
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper identifies potential obstacles that may have to be addressed when attempting to train juvenile justice staff in the effective supervision of juvenile offenders with mental health disorders.
Abstract: One obstacle is the minimal clinical knowledge possessed by most juvenile justice staff members; most have not had any formal mental health training. This does not mean, however, that they have not had contact with persons having mental disorders. Such contact has inevitably resulted in the formation of certain beliefs, attitudes, and philosophies regarding mentally ill persons and their disorders. These preformed and unexamined perceptions of and behavioral responses to mentally ill persons can be an obstacle to the incorporation of proper training into effective staff mental health services. Another obstacle to staff training is a focus on custody and security. Although mental health strategies encompass the safety of staff and other residents, they also encourage a more empathic, interactive approach in resident-staff relations. The fear of being manipulated by a juvenile is a fourth obstacle to staff training. Staff have been conditioned to view juvenile delinquents' behavior as highly manipulative, such that true symptoms of mental disorders may be viewed as an "act" to gain some desired self-serving objective. Other obstacles to training include resistance to change, trainee perceptions of additional responsibilities without additional resources, concerns about safety, confusion about ambiguous information, administrative limitations, peer pressure to resist training, staff "burn-out," the training environment, and the inability to see the practical aspects of the training. Other issues that may become training obstacles include the receptivity of trainees, resistance to the "team" concept, trainer personalities and methods, and the attempt of some trainees to discredit the trainer in the eyes of other trainees.
Main Term(s): Juvenile Corrections/Detention staff training
Index Term(s): Emotionally disturbed delinquents; Juvenile mental health services; Juvenile/corrections staff relations; Teaching/training techniques
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