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Preliminary Outcomes of a Preadjudication Diversion Initiative for Juvenile Justice Involved Youth With Mental Needs in Texas.

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 39 Issue: 4 Dated: 2012 Pages: 447-60
Brian Colwell; Soila F. Villarreal; Erin M. Espinosa
Date Published
14 pages

This paper discusses the Texas juvenile justice system’s efforts to supervise youth who have mental health disorders, and analyzes the impacts of specialized supervision on juvenile offenders’ adjudication rates


Estimates of mental health disorders among youth involved with the juvenile justice system range from 50 percent to 75 percent, while general population prevalence is nine percent to 20 percent. The system is ill-equipped to supervise these juveniles, and many are funneled deeper into the system due to noncompliance and often preventable problems. The authors used a retrospective design and evaluated a pre-adjudication diversion initiative utilizing specialized juvenile probation officers in Texas. Use of specialized supervision was effective at diverting youth with mental health needs from adjudication and increased participation and access to services by juveniles with such needs. Youth who received specialized supervision were significantly less likely to be adjudicated for the initial offense than those in a comparison group who received traditional supervision. Publisher Abstract Provided