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Racial biases in the diagnosis and disposition of adolescent offenders

26 July 2004


Mentally ill youth offenders within the juvenile justice system may be disposed to mental health treatment facilities; however, evidence exists that racial biases within the mental health and juvenile justice systems impact disposition decisions such that ethnic minority youth offenders are less likely to be disposed to mental health treatment, regardless of symptomatology. The purpose of this review is to organize the relevant research that examines the impact of race on the diagnosis and disposition of youth offenders so as to inform future research and social policy development. In addition, factors that may contribute to racial biases in the treatment of youth offenders are examined and possible solutions are identified.


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