McNair Scholars Research Journal


A substantial number of minority youth in the juvenile justice system have mental health issues, and many do not have access to necessary mental health services and support. This paper is an extended review of literature that examines present racial disparities in the juvenile justice system and further, explores the disproportionate racial and ethnic differences in mental health service utilization prior to, during, and after involvement in the corrections system. Additionally, this paper will discuss contributing factors that influence minority youth interaction with mental health services, including federal policy, community resources, and socioeconomic status. Based on the findings of this research, recommendations for future research regarding young offenders from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds and their needs for mental health resources and support will be offered.