Document Type


Publication Date

January 2003

Journal or Book Title

Psychiatric Services






The prevalence of mental disorders among juvenile detainees is estimated to be as high as 60 percent, and reports suggest that adolescents who are detained have a three- to fourfold risk of suicide. The transfer of juveniles who commit serious offenses to the adult legal system and the problems of overwhelmed child care agencies appear to have precipitated a shift in the composition of populations in juvenile detention centers. Adolescents are often detained for minor legal charges that occur in the context of severe behavioral problems and family stress. We report on a collaborative venture between a state juvenile justice system and the psychiatry department of a medical school for assessing and intervening with acutely distressed youths.