PhD student in Psychiatry
University of Oxford
Published in: Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
In western countries, teenagers make up 5% of the inmate population, and, in the United States, 53 000 adolescents are incarcerated in correctional facilities every day. Psychiatric disorders are common in children and adolescents in detention. In addition, many studies have shown that the mental health problems experienced by members of this population are linked to a greater risk of substance abuse, crime, domestic violence and mental disorders in adulthood. The study led by Gabrielle Beaudry aims to synthesize the most conclusive data on the prevalence of mental disorders among adolescents living in detention centres and correctional facilities. She undertook a systematic literature review and relied on robust statistical analysis to summarize the results. In adolescent girls, 2.9% suffer from a psychotic illness, 25.8% from major depressive disorder, 17.5% from attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity, 59% from disturbances of conduct and 18.2% from post-traumatic stress disorder. The findings emphasize the need for governments to determine whether current resources within the health system are sufficient to support these levels of psychiatric morbidity among minors experiencing the criminal justice system.