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Protecting Youth from Self-Incrimination When Undergoing Screening, Assessment and Treatment Within the Juvenile Justice System

NCJ Number
Lourdes M. Rosado, Esq.; Riya S. Shah, Esq.
Date Published
January 2007
218 pages
This monograph examines existing protections to prevent information elicited from youth during assessment processes from later being used against them in a delinquency or criminal proceeding.
This monograph reviews State statutes to determine what safeguards exist to protect youth from this form of self-incrimination. Protocols for many projects around the country call for the screening and assessment of youth even before they have been formally adjudicated delinquent by a court. When a youth involved with the juvenile justice system is screened or assessed to identify, evaluate, and/or treat behavioral health disorders, there is a chance that the youth will incriminate him or herself. Findings suggest that the vast majority of States currently do not have comprehensive protections that prevent statements made by, and information obtained from, youth during assessment processes from being used against the youth at the guilt and punishment phases of delinquency cases and criminal trials. When information is elicited from court involved youth as part of a screening and assessment project within the juvenile justice system, that information is often not protected by the same Federal and State laws that govern the confidentiality of information gathered in purely clinical settings. This document provides examples of statutes and court rules that policy and lawmakers can use as models to enact protections for youth. References and appendixes