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Public Policy and Administration


Raj Singh


The Nevada State Juvenile Justice and School systems do not currently screen or treat juveniles for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Left untreated, PTSD may contribute to behaviors that can lead to engagement with the juvenile justice system and contribute to high rates of recidivism and possible future engagement with the adult justice system. Using Erickson's theory of psychological development as the foundation, the purpose of this case study was to explore whether, from the perspectives of key stakeholders whether interventions and prevention services for juvenile justice clients in Carson City met the needs of youthful offenders also diagnosed with PTSD. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 2 mental health counselors, 6 juvenile justice administrators, and 10 parents. Interviews were transcribed and then subjected to Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis procedure. The findings of the study revealed 2 primary findings. First, the juvenile justice system is adequate in terms of identifying youth with mental-health issues and referring to behavioral-health providers when appropriate. Staff, however, may not have adequate training to provide proper intervention when necessary. Second, service delivery by behavioral-health providers fails when health care providers do not accept feedback from stakeholders that may result in inconsistent intervention services. Recommendations to the juvenile justice system decision makers to adopt a validated risk and needs assessment tool to asses all youths' level of care and mental health status and treat youth with mental-health issues separately from other justice-involved youth may lead to improvements in intervention services thereby decreasing youths' involvement with the juvenile justice system.