The majority of juvenile defendants present with unresolved, untreated, or unrecognized mental health issues which contribute to the commission of criminal behavior. More time and effort must be invested in addressing the mental health issues juveniles struggle with. A major reason for criminal recidivism is that our current system fails to address the mental health issues that impede a person’s ability to cope with and manage life within the community.
The best evaluations for juvenile delinquency cases are completed by clinicians with:
- A fundamental knowledge about children and adolescents:
- theories and empirical information about child and adolescent development
- theories and understanding of agrgession, deliquency, and specific knowledge about child offenders
- a solid understanding of the nature and diagnosis of adolescent psychopathology
- skills in the actual assessment of children and adolescents
- A solid understanding of the history and intent of the juvenile court
- Knowledge of the context for forensic evaluations. The evaluator should
- be aware of the laws that control juvenile delinquency cases
- understand procedures and processes within the courts regarding juvenile delinquency cases
- have a knowledge of the available (and logisitically feasible) disposition alternatives
- A clear understanding of the role of the mental health examiner, and the various types of evaluations requested
The comprehensive evaluation juvenile and adult mental health issues is the key to recommending effective interventions for rehabilitation and reduction of a client’s risks to re-offend.
Dr. Saul starts with a solid understanding of the research about youth offenders and offender treatment, and then considers the strengths and liabilities of the individual youth, the youth’s family and community, to develop meaningful, comprehensive recommendations.
Dr Jenna Saul has the training and experience to assess the youth offender and write a comprehensive assessment that provides a meaningful understanding of the youth. She makes feasible, realistic, recommendations addressing the consultation questions in cases including competency, risk of harm to others, rehabilitative potential, waiver and more.