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Transition Planning and Recidivism Among Mentally Ill Juvenile Offenders
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Objectives: To determine the extent to which transition planning and community service would predict lower levels of recidivism among mentally ill juvenile offenders.

Design: Review of legal, medical and social service records including examination of 3-month period following community release.

Participants: Juvenile offenders incarcerated for 6 months or more (N = 44) transitioning to community.

Measures: Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS), sum of different documented pre- and post-release discharge planning contacts, documented community service contacts.

Outcomes: Re-offense during the first year post-release.

Results: Documented community service contacts in the 3 months following discharge were rare for mental health (20.5%), substance abuse (38.6%), financial assistance (29.5%), and school placement (34.1%). The average number of different pre-release and post-release discharge planning contacts was also low, M(SD)=1.86(1.68) and M(SD)= 2.34(1.71) respectively. Post-release discharge planning and the receipt of financial assistance and mental health services were all associated with lower levels of reoffending.

Conclusions: Community transition planning, including the coordination and provision of community services, is an essential component of community reintegration for juvenile offenders and is associated with lower rates of recidivism during the first year post-discharge. (Authors)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services