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Across the nation and in California, youth with unaddressed mental and physical health issues are entering the juvenile justice system at alarming rates:

  • 50% of all youth detained at the county-level in California have a suspected or diagnosed mental illness.1
  • Three out of every four youth detained at the county-level in California have a substance abuse disorder.2
  • Increasingly, probation youth suffer from severe mental illness, such depressive, bi-polar, and schizophrenia disorders. 3
  • Youth in the juvenile justice system frequently have physical health
    issues, including sexually transmitted diseases, asthma, and oral health needs.4
  • Probation youth have limited access to a regular source of medical care and other public health resources.5


The Costs of Incarcerating Youth with Mental Illness: Policy Implications and Recommendations (Policy Brief #2), the Chief Probation Officers of California and the California Mental Health Directors Association, 2008.
Christopher Hartney et al., “A Survey of Mental Health Care Delivery to Youth in the California Juvenile Justice System: Summary of Findings,” National Council on Crime and Delinquency, September 2003
Linda A. Teplin, PhD; Karen M. Abram, PhD; Gary M. McClelland, PhD; Mina K. Dulcan, MD; Amy A. Mericle, PhD Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59:1133-1143.
Cited in Schwartz and Glascock, Improving Access to Health Coverage for Transitional Youth, National Academy for State Health Policy, July 2008.