Substance Use Services for Adolescents in Juvenile Correctional Facilities: A National Study

By Wiblishauser, Michael; Jordan, Timothy R. et al. | Journal of Juvenile Justice, Fall 2015 | Go to article overview

Substance Use Services for Adolescents in Juvenile Correctional Facilities: A National Study


Wiblishauser, Michael, Jordan, Timothy R., Price, James H., Dake, Joseph A., Jenkins, Morris, Journal of Juvenile Justice


Introduction

Substance use among adolescents in the United States is a major public health problem and priority. According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future study, approximately 28% of American adolescents reported having used illicit substances during the year and approximately 36% of high school seniors stated they had used an illicit substance within their lifetimes (Johnston, O'Malley, Miech, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2014). As an indicator of the importance of this issue in the United States, the nation's health objectives, i.e., Healthy People 2020, included 21 specific objectives related to substance abuse, many of them targeted directly at adolescents (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011).

Incarcerated adolescents are especially at risk for problems related to substance use. When compared to nonincarcerated youth, incarcerated adolescents reported high levels of substance use (Wilson, Rojas, Haapanen, Duxbury, & Steiner, 2001; Ford, Hartman, Hawke, & Chapman, 2008). Juvenile drug use may also be predictive of criminality continuing into adulthood. One study found that adults who had committed 90 or more offenses during the courses of their lifetimes were more likely to have used drugs as juveniles (DeLisi, Angton, Behnken, & Kusow, 2013).

In 2013, approximately 715,000 juveniles were arrested in the United States (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2014a). The most prevalent types of juvenile offenses are typically associated with property crimes (e.g., larceny, arson, burglary, motor vehicle theft; Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2014a). However, in 2013, juvenile offenders were involved in approximately onetenth of the total arrests for violent crimes committed in the United States (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2014b).

In 2011, male juvenile offenders accounted for 72% of delinquency arrests (Hockenberry & Puzzanchera, 2014). Property crimes were responsible for the highest numbers of arrests for both female (38%) and male (36%) juvenile offenders. Fortunately, there has been a gradual decline in the number of juvenile arrests. Between 1997 and 2011, there was a 38% decline in male arrests and a 22% decline in female arrests (Hockenberry & Puzzanchera, 2014).

In 2011, nearly 69,000 juveniles were being held in correctional or residential treatment facilities in the United States (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2013). Approximately, 62% of juvenile offenders were placed in public correctional or residential treatment facilities, while 27% were placed in private facilities. This population of incarcerated adolescents included a spectrum of races and ethnicities: Black (41%), White (33%), Hispanic (23%), American Indian (2%), and Asian/Pacific Islander (1%) (Sickmund, Sladky, & Kang, 2013).

The purpose of this research study was to survey program directors of juvenile justice-affiliated treatment facilities in the United States to answer the following research questions according to the gender served in the facilities: (a) Into what stages of implementation of the Precaution Adoption Process Model (PAPM) do program directors place their substance use services? (b) What methods of assessment or screening are used by juvenile justice facilities to diagnose substance use, abuse, or dependence? (c) How much time (in hours) do juvenile justice facilities invest in common topics found in substance use programs for juvenile offenders? (d) What types of treatment approaches are being used by juvenile justice facilities? (e) What types of substance use services are used by juvenile justice facilities when treating juvenile offenders? (f) What barriers do juvenile justice facilities face when trying to expand or improve their substance use services to juvenile offenders? (g) What benefits do program directors see to offering substance use treatment programs to juvenile offenders? (h) How do juvenile justice facilities evaluate the effectiveness of their substance use services for juvenile offenders? …

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