Unexamined Youth of the Juvenile Justice System: An Examination of the Prevalence of Unspecified Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorder Diagnosis



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The Juvenile Justice System (JJS) has a disproportionate number of youths with mental health concerns. Studies have shown that up to 98% of incarcerated youth have a mental illness diagnosis (Harzke et al., 2012). Multiple factors lead to high rates of diagnoses; one being that the juveniles who conduct delinquent acts have multiple mental health concerns which leads to the high rates of mental illness in the system. The second reason is a legal one; assigning a diagnosis can lead to a better understanding of the youth’s problems and needs, which helps to provide them the correct treatment (Haney-Caron, 2016). The aims of the current study were to explore an administrative sample provided by Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD) and specifically examine youth with Unspecified Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorder (UDICCD). Findings from aim 1 of the study identified gender differences in type of diagnosis the youth received. Results of aim 2 suggested that the youth from HCJPD could be stratified, based on the analyses presented here, into three classes: low-functioning, high-functioning, and internalizing classes. The statistical analyses used for aim 3 did not produce a result using the current data set due to technical difficulties. The implications of the current findings are discussed.



Juvenile Justice System, Unspecified Disruptive, Impulse-Control, Conduct disorder