•  
  •  
 

Keywords

Child mental health services; Incarcerated juveniles; Juvenile delinquents; MAYSI-2; Mental health assessment; Mental illness – Diagnosis; Nevada; Prisoners – Mental health services

Abstract

Incarcerated youth in Nevada with serious mental health problems are not being effectively identified. The current study examined the utility of simple screening instruments as a mechanism for identifying incarcerated youth who may have a mental health disorder. Adjudicated youth, incarcerated at each of Nevada’s 12 juvenile detention facilities, participated in the study by completing a demographic questionnaire and a standardized mental health screening instrument: the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument-Version 2 (MAYSI-2). Findings indicate a high prevalence of mental health disorders among incarcerated juveniles in Nevada. Identifying youth with mental health problems is complicated by the lack of a systematic screening or assessment process within detention facilities, and limited enabling legislation at the State level. Based on the research findings, policy recommendations were made and subsequently adopted by the State Legislative Counsel Bureau.