UCD School of Psychology Contributes to 4th International Juvenile Justice Observatory Conference in Rome

Tue, 16 November 10 12:45

Dr Gary O’ Reilly gave an invited paper on the Psychological Functioning of Young People Engaged in Crime to the 4th International Juvenile Justice Observatory Conference in Rome on November 11th, 2010.  The theme of the conference was building integrative juvenile justice systems that address the mental health and substance abuse problems of many juvenile offenders.  The conference was attended by over 350 participants from 50 nations.  The paper outlined the considerable evidence that young people detained for criminal behaviour have substantial mental health and addiction difficulties, adverse life experiences, and tend towards delinquent peer groups.  It argued that many nations have no aspirations for young people engaged in crime, while a small number have low aspirations in striving to offer limited mental health services, when what we actually need are higher but still modest aspirations that tackle the developmental adversities of poverty, unemployment, family difficulties (with criminality, substance abuse and mental health problems), and school failure which are clearly identifiable in the brief life histories of young people engaged in serious crime.