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    Diversion in youth justice: a pilot study of effects on self-reported mental health problems

    Whittington, R, Haines, A and McGuire, J (2015) Diversion in youth justice: a pilot study of effects on self-reported mental health problems. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 26 (2). pp. 260-274. ISSN 1478-9949

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    As part of a larger study to evaluate the effects of a Liaison and Diversion scheme in community youth justice services, staff of newly established Youth Justice Liaison and Diversion (YJLD) teams undertook observational ratings and administered self-report mental health and risk measures to young people referred to this pathway. The overall objectives of the YJLD project were to divert young people from the criminal justice system and to coordinate other services in order to reduce their likelihood of reoffending and the extent of their mental health problems. Data were collected from five local authority areas in different parts of England. Young people thereby referred had an average of 5.4 h of contact with youth justice staff. For a sample of young people on whom data were available at the beginning and end of that process, there was evidence of a significant reduction in problems and a small but significant correlation between the amount of individual contact time with YJLD staff and the extent of change observed. Absence of a comparison sample limits the drawing of firm conclusions; however, recommendations are made for future controlled experimental studies.

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