Mental Health of Youth involved in Juvenile Justice

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I would like to do an Interdisciplinary Study with a focus in Mental Health of Youth involved in Juvenile Justice. My goal is to work with juvenile delinquents and be a support system or a case worker for them. Helping them understand what they did wrong, being a support system for them if they don’t have one, but to also providing help and support for juveniles’ families as well.

I grew up in New York City and I’ve seen many youths going into the system because they committed petty crimes. Many of them were sent to juvenile correction facilities where they were supposedly to get help but all they did was spend time behind closed doors. Most of them continued with committed further crimes that have led them to jail or worst. I feel that if they had someone that was there to help them understand the seriousness of their crime, most of them would be living normal lives outside of prison.

I am creating this program by looking into classes that focus on topics that are relatable to juvenile delinquents. I would look into classes that would be giving me a better understanding of certain situations that I would be dealing with while working with certain individuals.

My program is different than other majors because I want to mainly focus on juveniles and how to help them by being a support system. I would like to be someone that they can come to with problems because they can trust that I won’t be biased, and I would listen and support them if they need it.

With an Interdisciplinary Studies Major I can pick classes that best fits my future. This entails the Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies (IS 2225) because this will give me a better understanding of what this major consists of and will help me solidify my program. Interdisciplinary Studies Senior Seminar (IS 4425) will give me the opportunity to reflect on all my accomplishments throughout the program. Research Methods and Statistics I (PS 3115) will give me knowledge on data collection and statistical analysis.

Introduction to Criminal Justice (CJ 1010) is important because it provides me with the history, development and status of the criminal justice system, along with the challenges we face. Juvenile Justice Administration (CJ 2999) is important because it provides me with information regarding prevention and treatment programs. This course also analyses adolescent behavior, peer pressure, and the role of the family. Drug Abuse and Law (CJ 2999) is important because it gives me a historical view of the use of major drug groups. The course also provides methods in treating substance abusers and the criminal justice system involvement with drugs and alcohol. All three criminal justice course listed were taught by Lisa Remick at the New Hampshire Technical Institute. Lisa Remick is a retired Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. She gave me insight to what to expect when going into the field of Criminal Justice. In her Juvenile Justice Admin class, she gave me insight to certain situations that I would be dealing with by going into corrections. Drugs and Society (SO 3380) is important because it examines past and present politics on drug control with also looking at the religious and cultural background. This can relate to helping youth because most youth struggle with substance abuse and that sometimes leads them into the crimes they commit.

Criminal Procedure (CJ 2040) is important to have in my program because it gives me a better understanding of the procedures that take place in a court setting. This course will help me provide answers for juveniles who have questions about the court process. Maybe being an advocate if they need it and helping them understand their rights. This course was taught by Stephen O’Donnell who was a former Lowell Police officer. Criminology (CJ 3090) provides me information such as crime theories and delinquency and touches on courts, prison and parole. Juvenile Delinquency (CJ 3080) will give me a better understanding of the history of the juvenile justice system and will examine theories that explain juvenile delinquency. Both Criminology and Juvenile Delinquency would provide me an understanding on why juveniles commit crimes.

Introduction to Psychology (PS2010) is included because it focuses on the historical and contemporary theories of psychology including personality, social psychology, cognitive psychology and clinical. Psychology and Law (PS 3700) provides me with knowledge of psychological variable to various aspects of the law. One of which includes repressed memories that is useful when dealing with youth. Adolescent Psychology (PS 3100) will give me a better understanding of the ethical development between puberty and adulthood. This course will provide understanding with changes in values during adolescence along with relations with parents, schools, and peers.

Mental Health and Society (SW 3300) is important because it examines current issues and problem in mental illness and studies the impact of social life. Child Maltreatment (SW 3150) examines and explores interventions to prevent child maltreatment, abuse and neglect. Child Welfare and Family Service (SW 3130) will give me a better understanding of the development of the child welfare system and will hopefully provide me information on the underlie problem of child welfare.

Why did I choose interdisciplinary studies? I can study many different fields of study that focus on my topic of interest; Social Work, Psychology, Sociology and Criminal Justice are all topics within my field that I could use without being tied down to just one. I could focus on classes in all these department and use them for my program.

 This program will help me prepare for my future because I will have an outlook on many different fields. I will hopefully be able to handle any situation that is thrown at me within my field. I will be able to use all my knowledge of different departments to help me provide further help to a youth if needed.


Where am I now with my major? Well, I’m beginning my journey of my last semester here at Plymouth State University. Switching to Interdisciplinary Studies has given me the opportunity to graduate a semester early and has even helped with starting in a job that I look forward to expending my career in. This was possible with some changes to my program.

A few things have changed since my original post above. For starters, my programs name was changed when this application was submitted. The name of my program now is Juvenile Justice and Mental Health. I was okay with this change because I thought that it was best suited for what I wanted to do, as far as my career goes.  Another change to my program would’ve been the take away of three course (Child Maltreatment, Child Welfare and Family Service, and Mental Health and Society) and replaced with three different course (Adolescent Psychology, Juvenile Delinquency, and an Internship).

I did my Internship at the Mount Prospect Academy and have even been employed since when my Internship was over. Working at the Mount Prospect Academy was the beginning of my decision making as far as where I would want to be working when it comes to Juvenile Justice. By working there, I’ve also learned what its like to be in the field when it comes to troubled youth being in placement. Not only am I involved with the academics of the students but I’m also involved with their actual residential lives when they’re not in school.

Some of the other changes were because classes weren’t being offered for this semester or because it just didn’t fit with my schedule. Some of  the classes also were being changed (as far as the number of the class) so there were changes there.

(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by Jamacab

I’ve been very pleased with the outcome of my plan as of far. I look forward to this upcoming semester, especially know that I’m taking classes that are the best fit for what I hope to achieve when I finish school.



One thought on “Mental Health of Youth involved in Juvenile Justice”

  1. Wow, I love this program. I feel like the juvinile system should really be studied and looked at! So many kids need support that they may not get from home. It is great you are studying this!

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