Most offenders ages 10 to 18 with mental health and behavioral problems who were diverted from detention centers to a treatment program in Ohio over eight years showed decreases in future delinquency, says a study reported by the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland studied 2,545 offenders who were enrolled in Ohio’s Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice initiative, operating in 11 counties between 2006 and 2013.
Many of the offenders had also abused drugs and alcohol, had a history of violent or criminal behavior and had had encounters with county agencies before appearing in juvenile court. The youths were diverted from detention centers to community-based agencies for treatment of mental health issues, drug problems or both. Offenders benefited from such treatment, which may not be available in detention centers. They also showed improvements in functioning and a reduction in symptoms related to trauma. The study appeared online in the Criminal Justice Policy Review.