Out of the Shadows: Factors that lead mentally ill kids into juvenile detention

Experts weigh in on the connection between juvenile detention and mentally ill youth in Illinois.

October 19, 2011

Produced by Out of the Shadows

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(AP/File)
Sixty-six percent of males in Cook County Juvenile Detention Center are mentally ill.

Not all mentally ill children are violent but some of them are. And many of those kids wind up tangling with the law. Experts say it’s hard to keep them out of trouble once they’ve gotten into it. Repeated visits to juvenile jail mean these kids become a burden on society and less successful in life and school. As part of our series Out of the Shadows, we explore why so many kids in juvenile jail are mentally ill. An estimated 70 percent in the country’s juvenile justice system have some diagnosable illness. WBEZ’s Gabriel Spitzer reported on this issue and brought us this conversation with experts on the matter.

Spitzer was joined by Dr. Julie Carbray, who works with police team in Chicago to educate them about mental health and mood disorders in children, Linda Teplin, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Psycho-Legal Studies Program at Northwestern University Medical School and Sharon Coleman, Associate deputy director of the Forensic Services department in the Illinois Division of Mental Health.

Join the conversation: Ask experts about mental illness in our live chat.