June 23, 2009
Health of young offenders is poor
The physical and mental health needs of juvenile offenders should be a priority if offenders have any hope of rehabilitation, Australian researchers suggest.
The review, published in the Australian Journal of Primary Health, and co-authored by doctoral student Phillip Tully found:
The health of young offenders is commonly poorer in comparison with the general youth population, lead author Dr. Anne Wilson said in a statement.
-- Mental health, grief and trauma are among the most common issues affecting both male and female young offenders.
-- Youth who are detained in secure care show significantly higher rates of mental health issues than young offenders who are not detained.
-- Young offenders in secure care generally have a poor level of physical health because of issues such as frequent substance abuse, head injury, exposure to direct trauma injuries or exposure to violence, hepatitis C infection and liver disease, and exposure to sexually transmissible diseases.
-- Young offenders have a higher death rate than similar aged non-offenders, with as many as 70 percent of deaths attributable to drugs and suicide.
-- High-risk sexual behavior leads to higher rates of pregnancy among young female offenders.