Juvenile Court System in the United States

The Annotated Bibliography Assignment is designed to give students a structure for critically analyzing citations to books, articles, and other academic sources. An annotated bibliography consists of a descriptive and evaluative paragraph that informs the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of each source that is cited. The annotated bibliography should be strongly associated with the topic chosen for the Term Paper Assignment and each citation should appear as a reference in the Term Paper Assignment. The Annotated Bibliography Assignment should include at least six (6) individual references from peer-reviewed scholarly literature and contain at least 250 words per annotation for each reference (Wikipedia or blogs CANNOT be used as a reference). Students will format their paper using 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins, and double spacing.

Each annotation should reflect:

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1- Relevancy of the academic source to the Term Paper topic.

2- Thesis of the academic source.

3- Findings of the academic source.

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Juvenile Court System in the United States

Mamdouh Roger Jebara

MACJ 512 20FC



Children as young as seven years old could be tried in the United States criminal courts, and if convicted, they were sentenced to imprisonment or even death. This continued until in the early 19th century when superior courts meant for juveniles’ incarceration were established to preclude children from being treated as criminals (Arya, 2011). The United States has over 50 juvenile courts spread across all states responsible for dealing with delinquent children who commit illegal acts, defiled parental authority, and social conventions (Listenbee et al., 2014). In addition to maintaining public safety, these juvenile courts also help in skill development among children through rehabilitation, addressing treatment needs for kids, and finds ways of reintegrating the children into the community. However, the U.S’ juvenile court system has been facing a lot of problems, such as the high rates of drug abuse disorders and mental disorders among many American kids. This paper aims at giving the analysis, discussion, and critique of an article on mental disorders as one of the problems facing the U.S juvenile court system.

Description of the problem

The World Health Organization describes mental disorders as an extensive variety of mental wellbeing situations, comprising stress, hopelessness, anxiety disorders, and addictive diseases. A mental illness, especially in kids, can cause many problems in their daily lives, such as truancy in schools, drug abuse, excessive anger, hostility or violence, and extreme mood changes (Listenbee et al., 2014). These problems are the gearing factors of many kids involved in delinquency, which may lead them into the juvenile court systems. According to Lee A Underwood and Aryssa Washington in their article, “Mental illness and Juvenile Justice,” they purport that estimation discloses that approximately 50 to 75 percent of 2 million youths in the U.S facing the juvenile court system bump into the standards for mental health infection. Nearly 40 to 80 percent of imprisoned children have at minimum one diagnosable mental disorder.


According to Lee A Underwood and Aryssa Washington in their article, “Mental illness and Youthful offenders,” they purport that estimation discloses that about 50 to 75 percent of 2 million youths in the U.S facing the juvenile court system bump into the criteria for mental health illness. Nearly 40 to 80 percent of imprisoned children have at minimum one diagnosable mental disorder (Underwood & Washington, 2016). Research has shown that juvenile systems have fewer facilities to help deal with severe health disorders in those kids that might be incarcerated due to engaging in criminality due to mental illness.

The mental health problem among youths and in particular kids is a problem in the Juvenile court system since most magistrates sometimes find themselves in a dilemma of whether to treat the person as sane or insane concerning the nature of the crime committed, making it hard for him/her to decide the kind of sentence to give. Additionally, The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice reports that the problem of mental disorder, especially in the United States, has not been fully addressed and has stood up as a problem for decades due to the reasons such as; inadequate administrative capacity, lack of proper education for most stakeholders in the Juvenile courts especially on the rights of children and also due to lack of adequate research on the issue of mental disorder.


Juvenile delinquency is a tremendous huge social health issue in a contemporary changing society. Researchers and policymakers in the United States have concentrated their attention on understanding why the problem is still a headache. According to Arya (2011), to understand the link between youths involved in criminality and mental disorders to develop a treatment response because there is evidence that mental illness is directly or circuitously to later antisocial behavior and wrongdoing.

Research shows that depression and mood disorders occur in about 10-25% of youth in the juvenile courts. The petulant mood that accompanies mental disorders increases children’s chances of inflammatory, annoyed reactions from others, thus increasing the chances of fetching in more bodily violent acts that finally can lead them to be detained and taken to juvenile courts. This has been a challenge to both the law enforcers and the juvenile court system since the mental disorder can sometimes be assumed to be a health problem leading to the issue being left in the hands of health officers alone. Lee A Underwood and Aryssa Washington emphasize in their article that mental disorders in the juvenile justice system does not necessarily require treatment but necessitates diverse levels of mental health care with mutable treatment options.


The article “Mental illness and juvenile offenders” by Lee Underwood and Aryssa Washington discusses the mental problem’s problem. Still, it does not illustrate how the issue is a problem to the Juvenile Court System in the United States. However, it only recommends the application of a diverse health care system to reduce pain. The article fails to provide clear guidance to the juvenile court system stakeholders on dealing with kids with mental illness to prevent them from engaging in future crimes. Moreover, the articles fail to show if a mental disorder is a challenge to the Juvenile Court system or not. The article does not provide tangible ways of mental disorder identification during the early stages of kids’ growth in order to help the juvenile justice sector to deal with the problem in a very good way.


In conclusion, it is evident from the above discussion that mental illness is still a problem that requires further research. The problem has been an issue affecting the Juvenile Court System since it is one contributor to juvenile delinquency among various youths in the United States (Underwood & Washington, 2016). The problem of negligence due to mental disorder can only be reduced if the problem is identified earlier in children and provides adequate care before imprisonment appears. Additionally, it is evident that in order for the juveniles that involve in crimes due to mental disorder to be assisted it has to start by the parents followed by the doctors.


Arya, N. (2011, March 14). State Trends: Legislative Changes from 2005 to 2010 – Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System. Papers.Ssrn.com. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1892403

Listenbee, R., Puzzanchera, C., & Robson, C. (2014). National Report Series F a c t S h e e t Delinquency Cases in Juvenile Court, 2010. https://ojjdp.ojp.gov/sites/g/files/xyckuh176/files/pubs/243041.pdf

Underwood, L., & Washington, A. (2016). Mental Illness and Juvenile Offenders. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(2), 228. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13020228

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