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Young offenders' health critical to rehabilitation
Date:6/19/2009

missible diseases.
  • young offenders have a higher death rate in comparison with similar aged non-offenders, with as many as 70% of deaths attributable to drugs and suicide;
  • for young female offenders, high-risk sexual behavior leads to higher rates of pregnancy, with estimates of up to 9% of detained youth being pregnant - and many of these young women give birth while in custody;
  • bodyweight and eating disorders are also problem issues among young female offenders.

    The review identifies various factors for successful mental health and trauma care, including: improving existing mental health services; identifying mental health problems with a high-quality screening process; ongoing support within and outside of secure care; improving the availability of services; and linking offenders directly to primary health or mental health services on release.

    Dr Wilson says improving young offenders' access to health care could go some way to addressing their poor physical health status.

    "However, additional social factors, such as education, peer support and family support, are likely to determine whether young offenders access the services they need," she says.

    "There is little doubt that those released from secure care face immense challenges to maintaining their health and well-being.

    "Many young offenders live in social conditions that are not conducive to achieving a healthy state. They are commonly exposed to poverty, social disadvantage, abuse and family dysfunction, and these factors may promote high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, coping problems, truancy and low educational attainment.

    "These social, familial, personal and peer-group factors can lead to repeat offender behavior and to a generational cycle of health problems. This is most clearly seen in neighborhoods where drugs are readily available to young people, where they are exposed to adult substance abuse, live in single-pa
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  • Contact: Dr. Anne Wilson
    anne.wilson@adelaide.edu.au
    61-883-033-593
    University of Adelaide
    Source:Eurekalert

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