Elena D. Bassett
“Research suggests that incarcerated youth have difficulty functioning in society as they age. This study reveals that 3 years after detention, most youth struggle in one or more life domains, and one in five youth is severely impaired [they face extreme difficulties in dealing with social, psychiatric, and academic issues from day-to-day] … Juvenile justice organizations, community groups, law enforcement, and corrections agencies must invest in targeted, comprehensive strategies to give these youth a chance to experience productive and healthy lives” (p. 3). The Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS) was used to rate individuals on eight domains of function—school/work, home, community, behavior towards others, moods/emotions, self-harm, substance use, and rational thinking. The authors examined impairment overall, impairment within domains, differences by age, gender, and race/ethnicity, and functional impairment in males and their incarceration status. Recommendations suggested for public policy initiatives are: connect more youth with community services after detention; target services to those youth with the greatest need; and make sure long-term interventions are provided.
If you work with justice-involved juvenile, you need to read this bulletin. "Incarcerated youth die by suicide at a rate two to three times higher than that of youth in the general population. In this bulletin, the authors examine suicidal thoughts and behaviors among 1,829 youth ages 10 to 18 in the Northwestern Juvenile Project—a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL (p. 1). Findings are presented for: hopelessness; thoughts about death and dying; thoughts about suicide; suicide plan; telling someone about suicidal thoughts; suicide attempts; and psychiatric disorders that may increase the odds of suicide attempts. Additional discussion concerns demographic characteristics and suicide risk, and psychiatric disorders and suicide risk. Based on the results, detention facilities need to systematically screen juveniles for suicide risk within 24 hours of arrival if not sooner, and increase the availability of psychiatric services.