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Risk for Disciplinary Infractions Among Incarcerated Male Youths: Influence of Psychiatric Disorder

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior: An International Journal Volume: 35 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2008 Pages: 1174-1185
Larkin S. McReynolds; Gail A. Wasserman
Date Published
September 2008
12 pages
This study examined risks for juveniles’ institutional misconduct.
The study found that younger boys, minority youths, and those who stayed longer were found to infract more. Controlling for these factors, infraction risk was significantly lowered by anxiety, affective disorder, disruptive behavior, or substance use disorder (vs. no disorder), as well as more or more types of disorder. Youths with mental health concerns were found to be less likely to infract. The authors examined the contribution of disorder to disciplinary infractions among incarcerated male youths. The results also highlight the importance of employing systematic and universal screening rather than relying on observable management problems to identify mental health needs. The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission provided access to youths at the New Jersey Training School for Boys, a secure orientation and assessment center where male youths who have been committed to State custody are initially admitted, assessed, and later placed. Youths recently admitted to this secure assessment center were administered the Voice Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-IV. Demographic and justice-related data were abstracted from official records. Diagnostic data were available on 197 boys, reflecting a response rate of higher than 90 percent of the 217 boys asked to participate during a 2-month data collection period; analysis was conducted on a group of 176 for which there were complete data. Tables, notes, and references