Improving Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities in the Juvenile Justice System

Mary Magee Quinn
Darren Woodruff

Many factors affect juvenile justice outcomes. One factor all-too-infrequently addressed is disability, which can place youth at great risk for contact with the juvenile justice system, as well as for poor outcomes once they have come into contact with the juvenile justice system. National studies show that a minimum of 30% to 50% of youth involved in juvenile crimes has special needs.

This series of monographs addresses the issues of youth with cognitive or behavioral disabilities and their experiences in the juvenile justice system. If staff in the juvenile justice system (e.g., law enforcement personnel, probation officers, judges, correctional educators, correctional custody and treatment personnel, and youth guidance counselors) receive support in understanding the cognitive and behavioral problems of youth with disabilities, the system will better serve these children. Appropriate responses from those in the system will lead to better outcomes for the children and youth, for their families, and for society as a whole.

David Osher
Vice President and Institute Fellow