Diagnoses and Treatment in Juvenile Detention Before and After Evaluation by Facility-Based Mental Health Service [Letter]
As of 2018, more than 37,000 American youth were residing in juvenile detention or residential placement facilities.1 Prevalence studies have demonstrated high rates of psychiatric illness in this population, with estimates ranging from 50% to 75%.2
The effectiveness of PTSD treatment for adolescents in the juvenile justice system: A systematic review
OBJECTIVE:The objective of this study was to systematically review existing empirical evidence on the effectiveness of trauma-specific treatment for justice-involved adolescents and evaluate the impact of the interventions on the reduction of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, co-occurring mental health symptoms, and juvenile justice-related outcomes. METHOD/METHODS:A systematic literature search was conducted using a four-step process. Studies were included if they used a manualized, trauma-specific treatment with at least one control or comparison group and a sample comprised exclusively of justice-involved adolescents. RESULTS:In total, 1,699 unique records were identified, and 56 full-text articles were reviewed, of which 7 met the criteria for inclusion. Trauma-specific interventions led to a decrease in PTSD symptoms compared with a control group in four of seven studies, and two studies also demonstrated a reduction in trauma-related depressive symptoms. Finally, juvenile justice-related outcomes were measured in only four studies, with one study finding moderately reduced rates of delinquent behavior and recidivism following trauma-specific treatment. CONCLUSIONS:The results from this systematic review suggest that trauma-specific treatment interventions have promising effects for justice-involved adolescents. However, the results reveal a dearth of quality intervention research for treating youths with histories of trauma in the justice system. Significant gaps in the literature are highlighted, and suggestions for future directions are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
The role of trauma-informed practices and individual factors on perceptions of safety among staff in secure juvenile detention settings
Despite an increased focus on trauma-informed care within the juvenile justice system, we still know very little about the impact of trauma on juvenile justice professionals or their perceptions of trauma-informed interventions. To fill this gap, this study used an organizational assessment to examine perceptions of trauma-informed care among juvenile professionals in a juvenile detention setting. Participants included 204 staff members in two secure juvenile detention facilities. Staff who reported greater availability of trauma-informed practices were more likely to perceive that youth and families felt safe and those who reported that the facility was taking steps to address secondary trauma were more likely to report a sense of staff safety. Regarding individual factors, only age and gender were related to perceptions of youth and family safety. Frontline staff were more likely than supervisory staff to feel they had received adequate training in trauma and had the skills necessary to deescalate youth. These findings suggest that staff are open to trauma-informed practices in juvenile detention, but a greater focus on supervisory staff is needed. Shifting from individual-level strategies to facility-level improvements could have a greater impact on enhancing staff members"™ perceptions of safety, which improves their ability to care for youth.
Does a Close Relationship With an Adult Reduce the Risk of Juvenile Offending for Youth With a History of Maltreatment?
Social support is frequently cited as a protective factor against juvenile offending. The current study examined whether a close relationship with an adult in childhood decreases the risk for offending among individuals with a history of child maltreatment. This research utilized data from a prospective cohort design study in which children with court-substantiated cases of abuse and neglect and nonmaltreated children matched on age, sex, race, and approximate family social class were followed into adulthood (N = 1,196). Having a close relationship with an adult did not decrease risk for delinquent behavior or arrest, but a close relationship with a parent was associated with lower risk for delinquent behavior. Surprisingly, adults with no history of maltreatment who reported having a close relationship with a peer or sibling were more likely to report engaging in violent behavior in adolescence. In total, these findings point to the complexity of development and suggest that although a close relationship with an adult can be protective, the mere presence of such a relationship, without inquiry into the type of relationship, is not sufficient.
Impact of a Trauma-Informed Intervention for Youth and Staff on Rates of Violence in Juvenile Detention Settings
The majority of youth in the juvenile justice system have experienced multiple traumatic events in their lives, including community violence, physical abuse, neglect, and traumatic loss. These high prevalence rates, coupled with the known negative consequences of trauma in childhood and adolescence, have led to a greater emphasis on implementing trauma-informed services and practices within juvenile justice settings. However, although many stakeholders and government entities have expressed support for creating more trauma-informed juvenile justice systems, there is still limited empirical knowledge about which interventions are most effective at improving outcomes, particularly at the organizational or facility level. In an effort to fill this gap, the current study evaluated the impact of a trauma-informed milieu intervention, including skills training for youth and training for staff, on rates of violence at two secure juvenile detention facilities (N = 14,856) located in a large Northeastern city. The analyses revealed that the intervention was significantly related to a reduction of violent incidents in Facility A, with no impact on incidents in Facility B. Follow-up analyses revealed that a larger proportion of eligible youth in Facility A completed the skills group program as compared with eligible youth in Facility B (16% vs. 9%). This finding has important implications for the implementation of trauma-informed interventions for youth in juvenile detention settings, as it suggests that to impact outcomes at the facility level, a minimum threshold of youth may need to be exposed to the intervention. In addition, reductions in violence at Facility A were only realized after both staff training and youth skills components were implemented, suggesting that both components are necessary to create change at the facility level. Future research is needed to further explore the impact of organizational and implementation-level factors on trauma-informed care outcomes in juvenile justice settings.
Post-traumatic stress and related symptoms among juvenile detention residents: Results from intake screening
BACKGROUND:Juvenile justice-involved youth have high rates of trauma exposure, physical and sexual abuse and PTSD. Several factors have been found to be related to PTSD symptoms in youth including number and chronicity of traumatic events. OBJECTIVE:To simultaneously examine the relationships between allostatic load (defined here as number of traumatic experiences), poly-victimization (exposure to two or more forms of victimization based on 5 of the 6 categories in Ford et al.'s 2010 study), physical/sexual abuse and PTSD in justice-involved youth. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING/METHODS:The sample consisted of 1984 youth in juvenile detention in a Northeastern city. The sample was 73.4% male and the majority of youth were either African American or Hispanic. METHODS:Clinicians collected demographic and psychosocial information, and measured symptoms of PTSD, depression, and problematic substance use. RESULTS:Results showed that youth with more traumas, those who experienced poly-victimization and those who experienced physical/sexual assault/abuse were not only more likely to have PTSD, but also more likely to have depression, thoughts of suicide/self-harm, and problematic substance use (as indicated by the presence of 2 or more of 6 possible indicators). Poly-victimization was a stronger correlate of PTSD than number of traumas or physical/sexual assault/abuse. However, among youth with PTSD, number of traumas was associated with co-occurring problems while poly-victimization and physical/sexual assault/abuse were not. CONCLUSIONS:Findings can be used to help direct resources to juvenile justice-involved youth who are most in need of treatment.
Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice Systems: A Systematic Review of Definitions and Core Components
OBJECTIVE: The U.S. Department of Justice has called for the creation of trauma-informed juvenile justice systems in order to combat the negative impact of trauma on youth offenders and frontline staff. Definitions of trauma-informed care have been proposed for various service systems, yet there is not currently a widely accepted definition for juvenile justice. The current systematic review examined published definitions of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system in an effort to identify the most commonly named core elements and specific interventions or policies. METHOD: A systematic literature search was conducted in 10 databases to identify publications that defined trauma-informed care or recommended specific practices or policies for the juvenile justice system. RESULTS: We reviewed 950 unique records, of which 10 met criteria for inclusion. The 10 publications included 71 different recommended interventions or policies that reflected 10 core domains of trauma-informed practice. We found 8 specific practice or policy recommendations with relative consensus, including staff training on trauma and trauma-specific treatment, while most recommendations were included in 2 or less definitions. CONCLUSION: The extant literature offers relative consensus around the core domains of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system, but much less agreement on the specific practices and policies. A logical next step is a review of the empirical research to determine which practices or policies produce positive impacts on outcomes for youth, staff, and the broader agency environment, which will help refine the core definitional elements that comprise a unified theory of trauma-informed practice for juvenile justice. (PsycINFO Database Record
Depressive Symptoms, Including Lack of Future Orientation, as Mediators in the Relationship between Adverse Life Events and Delinquent Behaviors
The Role of International Law in the Abolition of the Juvenile Death Penalty in the United States