Purpose: This paper describes a comprehensive solution to the apparent indifference to mental health issues and trauma in juvenile residential and correctional facilities.
Findings: The solution incorporates a two-pronged approach. First is addition of multiple mental health resources and treatments: mandatory screening before placement, correctional staff training, trauma-informed practices, individualized treatment plans, and mental health services. Second is elimination of harmful disciplinary procedures: abolition of solitary confinement, limiting use of restraints, daily detrimental procedures (harsh, continual lighting; family visit constraints; officers’ excessive force).
Design: The design was structured by the professor’s subheading: student’s personal experience, research, valid resources, application to proposed solution, actual evidence-base solution, alternative solutions not chosen, assumptions, barriers, feasibility of solution, and change in social reaction over time.
Research limitations/implications: Limitations to implementation include juvenile justice officials’ change of perspective away from the “tough on crime” approach and monetary costs of additional
mental health professionals to serve the youth in residential facilities.
Practical implications: This solution will substantially decrease negative mental and physical health outcomes or retraumatization for juveniles in residential facilities and should give them needed care
Social implications: More humane and effective treatment of juveniles should lessen social stigmas of mental health
Originality/Value: This comprehensive solution addresses major and minor adverse, debilitating issues endured by youth in juvenile justice residential facilities. The components of the solution are evidence-based, practical, and far-reaching.
Keywords: disciplinary measures, juvenile justice, mental health, residential facility, trauma