Research Proposal Paper Example: Mental Health Illnesses in Juvenile Institutions

Published: 2022-10-14
Research Proposal Paper Example: Mental Health Illnesses in Juvenile Institutions
Essay type:  Proposal essays
Categories:  Mental health Juvenile justice
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1783 words
15 min read

My research question will be the various health illnesses in a juvenile institution. The population will be young people in juvenile institutions between the ages of 8-16 years. I have chosen the juveniles because they are a special population because first they have committed a crime and have been imprisoned. Secondly they may not be willing to share information because they may be suffering from a disorder that could limit their mental ability.

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Mental health illness is a major crisis in the juvenile institution and it's on the rise. Research shows that 20% of the children arrested in the United States of America suffer from mental illness which the institutions may not be able to handle because they are ill-equipped. (Desai et al, 2006). Another research shows that three out of four juveniles suffer from severe mental health which incapacitates them to act like adults (Fazel, Doll & Langstrom (2008). The affected youths become very irresponsible citizens if the mental illness is not addressed and leads to adult crime which is even worse. The lack of proper measures to address the crisis leads to relapse. It is therefore of essence for the institutions to assess the children and give them the necessary support. The importance of early screening and assessment is that it prevents the juveniles from committing other crimes hence producing a healthy generation of young people. According to Shufelt, & Cocozza, (2006) the number of juveniles that suffer from mental illnesses in the justice system is three times higher compared to the general adolescent population.

Mental illness in juvenile institutions

There are different mental illnesses that are common among the offenders in the justice system. Fazel, Doll & Langstrom (2008) found out that 40%-80% of the imprisoned juveniles have been diagnosed with at least one mental disorder where two-thirds were men and three quarters were women. This shows that women are at a greater risk of suffering from mental disorder than their male counterparts. The aggressiveness depends on the specific disorder because the emotions of the individual are unstable. One of the common disorders among the juveniles is an anxiety disorder which includes anxiety, psychotic disorder, separation anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The affective disorder is also common among the juveniles and it includes of major depression, manic disorder, and persistent depression. The other common disorders are substance use disorder and disruptive disorder. Desai et al, (2006) found out that 15%-30% is diagnosed with depression and 13%-30% have hyperactivity disorder. Fazel, Doll, & Langstrom (2008) also found that the conduct disorder and substance abuse disorder are very common in juvenile offenders.

Relationship between mental illnesses and crimes

It is critical to understand the relationship between mental illness and youthful crimes. This will help the stakeholders and other partners in laying out proper strategies to rehabilitate the offenders. Studies show that there is a direct or indirect link between mental disorders and the crimes committed (Desai, et al, 2006). For example, the youths diagnosed with the mood disorder are likely to be aggressive and they might end up engaging in physical fights which leads to imprisonment. On the other hand, found out that young offenders with the anxiety disorder are less aggressive which leads to stress and if not attended to it leads to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Screening and assessment

Screening and assessment in the juvenile institutions are necessary to get a grip on the best rehabilitation plan for specific individuals rather than a general program. Desai et al, (2006) argue that if screening and assessments are done at an early stage, professionals are able to identify the problems and give the necessary treatment. Unfortunately, in most cases the assessment is done after the individuals have been put in a rehabilitation center. All the institutions should strive to have screening and assessment protocols before the offenders are put in any program. For example in Pennsylvania, they use the screening protocols to identify the needs of the juveniles. The screening also helps to create awareness and increases competency among the employees of the detention institutions.

Treatment of mental illnesses

The treatments of the mental illnesses of the detained offenders vary from one disorder to another. There are also benefits that are associated with the interventions. Shufelt & Cocozza, (2006) state that the treatment can be pharmacological, clinical or environmental treatment. The disorders can be treated through cognitive behavioral interventions, functional family interventions, multisystemic therapy, and the wraparound approach. The other forms of treatment are crisis intervention, family integrative transition, and integrated co-occurring treatment model. Cognitive behavioral therapy prevents future crimes committed by the youths by creating awareness on communication skills, problem solving and strategies of responding to issues in a less hostile way. Functional family therapy mostly suits children between the age of 11-18 and is most suitable for youths who have shown violence and aggression, misconduct and substance use. This therapy is effective in reducing the chances of relapse.

The family integrative system is a rigorous therapy with many combined intervention programs. The intervention takes place 2 months before the offender is released and continues up to six months after being set free. This program is very effective as it helps the youths to adjust back to the community while practicing the skills learned while in custody. The wraparound approach is set in a way that the community and the family are able to provide natural support which helps the individuals to achieve a good outcome. Desai et al, (2006) found out that the most effective therapy was functional family therapy and multi systematic therapy. He also found out that the treatment models were almost the same because they revolved around the family, the community and the youths. There was also a similarity of the models because they focused on reducing crime, addressing stress and aggressive behaviors. Research shows that the community-based models were far much better than the institution based models (Fazel, Doll, & Langstrom, 2008). From the research, they found out that the youths placed under the community models had fewer relapses compared to those that were institution based.

Role of Juvenile systems

The juvenile justice system has a role to play in advocating for assessment, screening and provision of education to the employees. Shufelt & Cocozza (2006), state that the juvenile justice system should be more focused on mental health care of the juveniles. Fazel, Doll & Langstrom, (2008) put the roles into four stages which are making and arresting the juvenile offenders, pretrial detention, assessment plan, and transition plan. The first stage of arresting and making court referrals include assessing the juveniles with the mental disorder. This rigorous activity should give directions to either proceed with the pretrial detention or to be taken in for a community-based treatment model. Shufelt & Cocozza (2006) found that many offenders could be diverted from the formal justice system if their mental problems were discovered early enough. In the second stage the juvenile justice system is responsible for giving the offenders detention trials especially if they pose a risk to themselves and or to other detainees. The facilities should have clear procedures to deal with emergencies without having professionals on board. To ensure the needs of the detained youths are meant, the organizations should have psychiatrist referrals and give access to clinical consultants. Desai et al (2006), state that the third stage is an assessment for dispositional treatment planning stage. The role of the court in this stage is to determine to assess the needs of the young offenders. The justice system should also recommend a long-term rehabilitation plan if need be in order to fully transform the juveniles. The fourth stage according is transitioning from the detention center to the community. The justice system has the responsibility of ensuring that the juveniles have a smooth transition to prevent relapse or aggravating the mental condition. The system can hire psychiatrists and other professionals to provide counseling while for the youths with more serious conditions can have special clinics to address their needs sufficiently.

Research study participants

Description of the population

The population of the study will be children for ages 8-16 years. The children will be girls and boys of whom most of them attend school. The children are a sensitive population because they need close monitoring and enough attention. They can easily harm themselves or harm others easily. The children also may fail to understand the importance of the research, therefore, giving wrong information which might affect the outcome of the study. The children may also feel as if they are being forced to reveal important information while on the other hand; the researcher might take advantage of the population to ask questions which are not part of the study. The children cannot decide whether to participate in the study or not.

Ethical and Cultural Responsiveness

The researcher will act professionally when carrying out the research because misconduct will not tolerated by any research institution. The researcher will also illustrate enough competence by following the research guidelines. It will be the responsibility of the researcher to dictate their stance before the beginning of the study to eliminate ethical dilemmas that may arise during the research. The researcher will ensure that they respect participants' rights, dignity, and diversity. Social responsibility to the community the research is taking place in will be another cultural responsiveness of the researcher.

Ethical Concerns about your Proposed Research

Informed Consent/ and child Consent

Consent will first be obtained from the institution leaders of the juvenile institutions. Then the researcher will explain the purpose of the study with the simplest language possible to make sure that they understand. Upon understanding the researcher and the children will sign the assent form and then a copy will be given to the leaders or the guards. The children will sign the assent form when they understand the purpose of the study, if they agree to take part in the study and if they have talked to their parents about the study. The researcher will clearly explain that failing to participate in the study would not get them into any trouble and that they can decide to drop the study at any time.

Assessing Harm, Minimizing Harm, Benefits of Research Participants

The researcher will evaluate the possible harm that the project is likely to pose to the participants. The harm will be justified and there should be a balance between the benefits and the harm. Harm is a possible risk that may occur to the participant such as physical, psychological, social, legal and economic harm while benefits are anticipated advantages of the research. The investigator will conduct a thorough study and collect detailed information which will be presented to the research committee to justify the risks and also ensure there is a favorable ratio of benefits to risks.

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