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Dealing with Systems


Criminal and Juvenile Justice

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Much like other systems, the laws governing the criminal and juvenile justice systems vary from state to state.

Juvenile Justice System

Youth with ADHD can come into contact with the juvenile justice system when he/she violates the law or as a result of a status offense, such as running away from home (Rouse, 2002).

When dealing with the juvenile justice system, it is important that all parties involved -- law enforcement officers, judges, detention facility staff, and others -- are aware of the youth's disability as well as any current treatment that the youth is receiving.

It is also important that parents and guardians know that even though a youth is involved with the juvenile justice system, the youth is still entitled to a free and appropriate public education.

Criminal Justice System

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 16 percent of the population in prison or jail has a mental illness.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, corrections facilities must provide screening, evaluation, and treatment for individuals with mental disabilities.

Also of significant importance is the transition from incarceration to community life, and reducing the chances of the individual with ADHD from re-entering the criminal justice system.

Many efforts are being made to improve the interaction between individuals with mental disorders and the criminal justice system:

  • jail diversion programs, such as mental health and drug courts
  • educating judges, police officers, correction facility staff, and others
  • helping recently released inmates access housing, mental health services, and public benefits 

References

Rouse, G. (2002, December). ADHD and the Juvenile Justice System. Attention!, 27-32.

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