Understanding juvenile justice system involvement: Biological, psychological, and legal factors



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Negative life outcomes are strongly linked to involvement in the juvenile justice system, JJS (Abram et al., 2015; Anthony et al., 2010; Van der Geest et al., 2016). It is crucial to understand the many factors that impact JJS involvement to not only prevent further recidivism but to provide targeted interventions to promote reintegration. To that end, we completed three studies aimed at examining the biological (genetic), psychological (mental health), and societal (legal) factors that may be related to antisocial behavior and JJS involvement. The first study aimed to summarize and interpret the current state of studies on genetic factors associated with a range of phenotypes capturing antisocial and delinquent behavior through a meta-analysis. The second study aimed to contribute to literature through examining the prevalence of mental health diagnoses in post-adjudicated adolescents in Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD) via the administration of a semi-structured diagnostic interview and comparing the results to the diagnoses the system identifies in the youth. Last, we examined the interaction between juvenile record sealing, offense history, and court decisions.



Juvenile justice system, Mental health, Genetics


Portions of this document appear in: Kovalenko, Julia D., Nan Li, and Elena L. Grigorenko. "Gold Standard Versus Treatment as Usual: Assessment Practices in the Juvenile Justice System." Clinical Psychology & Special Education/Kliniceska I Special'naa Psihologia 11, no. 2 (2022).