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NCJ Number: 64648 Find in a Library
Title: MENTALLY-DISORDERED JUVENILE OFFENDER - AN INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF THE KIDS NOBODY WANTS
Journal: JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURT JOURNAL  Volume:30  Issue:4  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1979)  Pages:47-58
Author(s): E MACKENZIE; R A ROOS
Corporate Author: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Reno, NV 89507
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: TREATMENT FACILITIES FOR MENTALLY DISORDERED, VIOLENT JUVENILE OFFENDERS IN CALIFORNIA ARE EXAMINED TO DETERMINE WHY THERAPY PROGRAMS FOR THESE YOUTHS ARE SEVERELY LIMITED.
Abstract: JUDGES HAVE FEW OPTIONS IN LOCATING APPROPRIATE TREATMENT FOR MENTALLY ILL JUVENILES, AND MANY OF THESE OFFENDERS SPEND LONG PERIODS IN JUVENILE DETENTION HALLS. A 1975 RESEARCH PROJECT CONDUCTED BY THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH PROFILED THE MENTALLY DISORDERED JUVENILE OFFENDER AS A 16-YEAR-OLD MALE WHO COMES FROM A LARGE, LOW-INCOME FAMILY WITH A HISTORY OF INSTABILITY. AS A RESULT OF DEPRIVATION OF PARENTAL AFFECTION, THESE JUVENILES DEVELOP EXTREME ANGER AT THEIR PARENTS WHICH THEY TRANSFER TO OTHERS. THEY ARE INCAPABLE OF FORMING EMOTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND ARE GIVEN TO OUTBURSTS OF EXTREME VIOLENCE. ADMINISTRATORS OF SEVERAL PUBLIC AND PRIVATE THERAPY-ORIENTED FACILITIES FOR JUVENILES WERE INTERVIEWED IN ORDER TO ASSESS THEIR ATTITUDES TOWARD HARD-TO-HANDLE YOUTHS. ALTHOUGH ALL DESCRIBED THEIR PROGRAM AS SUITABLE FOR THESE OFFENDERS, IT BECAME EVIDENT THAT OUTSIDE OF THE CALIFORNIA YOUTH AUTHORITY (CYA) NO FACILITY WANTED HARD-CORE, VIOLENT, AND DISTURBED JUVENILES BECAUSE THEY SPOILED THEIR SUCCESS RECORDS. WHEN THE MOST SERIOUS CASES ARE REJECTED BY TREATMENT PROGRAMS, THEY ARE LIKELY TO BE COMMITTED TO THE CYA. THIS USUALLY RESULTS IN INCARCERATION WITH NO THERAPY SINCE THE CYA OPERATES ONLY ONE SMALL FACILITY FOR ACUTE PERSONALITY PROBLEMS. HOWEVER, ADMINISTRATIVE ATTITUDES ARE UNDERSTANDABLE WHEN THE POLITICS OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM ARE EXAMINED. TREATMENT PROGRAMS ARE JUDGED AND FUNDED ON THE BASIS OF SUCCESS AND RECIDIVISM RATES AND ARE USED TO PROPAGANDIZE SPECIFIC VIEWPOINTS. MENTAL HEALTH SPECIALISTS HAVE BEGUN TO PLAY INCREASING INCREASINGLY ROLE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE, AND MANY MAY FEEL THAT THEIR POSITIONS DEPEND ON THE SUCCESS RATE OF THERAPEUTIC PROGRAMS. CRITICS OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM HAVE SUGGESTED THAT SPECIAL INSTITUTIONS BE CREATED FOR THE MENTALLY-ILL OFFENDERS, BUT THE COST WOULD BE ENORMOUS. OTHER RECOMMENDED REFORMS INCLUDE REMOVAL OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO REJECT A JUDGE'S PLACEMENT AND PLACING ALL THERAPEUTIC FACILITIES UNDER A SINGLE ADMINISTRATION AND BUDGET TO REDUCE COMPETITION. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): California; Correctional institutions (juvenile); Juvenile treatment methods; Mentally ill offenders; Treatment/Therapeutic Community; Violent juvenile offenders
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64648

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