Restorative Action For Juvenile Justice Centers

2561 words - 11 pages

Mental Health
With two-thirds of young people in detention centers meeting the criteria for having a mental disorder we can see that major changes need to be made (Holman & Ziedenberg, 2006). According to Holman and Ziedenberg (2006), a little more than a third of these juveniles need continuous clinical care. This rate is twice as high as the adolescent populace not detained in juvenile centers (Holman & Ziedenberg, 2006).
So why is the occurrence of mental illness among the detained youth so high? The primary reason is because those youth who are suffering from mental illness have nowhere else to turn. Mental health facilities have rapidly disappeared over the years, leaving those suffering with mental illness on the streets without the resources they need for recovery. If these troubled juveniles have nowhere else to turn, they will likely continue to be hulled into juvenile centers. The violence alone in some detention centers has a deep and lasting impact on young people, leaving them worse off after “rehabilitation” in these programs and likely back out in the real world, where they started, with no more resources than before.
The environment is a huge factor for mental illness in this portion of the system. Anytime you take a child out of their normal surroundings and routines, you can expect things to be a bit off. Imagine yourself being physically removed from your family, school and community ties. Add to it the conditions of that confinement and anyone can assume an unhealthy environment would be born. It has been found that at least a third of detention centers are overcrowded, often these children are thrown into an unfamiliar environment thriving off of violence and chaos (Holman & Ziedenberg, 2006). With the children in juvenile justice centers receiving inadequate treatment, no justice is being served for them. Research published in Psychiatry Resources showed that for one-third of incarcerated youth diagnosed with depression, the onset of the depression occurred after they began their incarceration (Holman & Ziedenberg, 2006). The chaotic and overcrowded environments do not have any positive effects of the juveniles being held in them. In recent studies, not only has the overcrowding been linked to more cases of depression and anxiety, it has also shown increases in staff and youth altercations and injuries (Jones & Wordes, 1998).
According to Koyama (2012), students that stay in school are less likely to offend than those who dropout. So right off the bat we can see how important schooling is not only for the rest of the young adult’s life but also to keep them on the straight and narrow while they are young. Although the youth in these centers do receive helpful education services to keep them on track, while incarcerated, until they return to school, only forty-three percent of incarcerated youth will return after release, and another sixteen percent will drop out after only five months back in school (Holman &...

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