The first part of this issue explores the impact trauma has on children and adolescents, as well as the importance of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system. Articles focus on collaborative efforts among youth-serving systems to help at-risk youth experiencing trauma-related behavioral and psychological problems, a research and policy agenda comprising four core domains of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system, and on the psychosocial aspect of juvenile delinquency and the development and implementation of psychosocial interventions for traumatized youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system.
Highlighted Programs and Practices
Trauma-Informed and Evidence-Based Practices and Programs to Address Trauma in Correctional Settings
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (2017)
The prevalence of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is higher among individuals in prison and jail than in the general population. While the corrections environment itself may cause or exacerbate PTSD symptoms in some individuals, facilities can implement trauma-informed practices to minimize re-traumatization and reduce PTSD symptoms.
Understanding the variety of ways that substance abuse, mental health, and trauma interact and the importance of context and culture in a person’s response to trauma is critical for effective behavioral health care. Research evidence supports implementation of trauma-informed techniques, strategies, and approaches that assist clients in recovery from mental and substance use disorders who have also been affected by acute or chronic traumas.
The evidence that a significant majority of women involved with the criminal justice system are trauma survivors with histories of rape, sexual assault, or childhood sexual abuse supports the need for instituting trauma-informed criminal justice systems in order to better serve these women. The use of the sequential intercept model (SIM) to identify the opportunities available at each of the points at which women may come into contact can improve interactions between female offenders and the criminal justice system.
The U.S. Department of Justice has called for the creation of trauma-informed juvenile justice systems in order to combat the negative impact of trauma on youth offenders and frontline staff. Definitions of trauma-informed care have been proposed for various service systems, yet there is not currently a widely accepted definition for juvenile justice. A systematic review research reveals published definitions of a trauma-informed juvenile justice system in an effort to identify the most commonly named core elements and specific interventions or policies.
A multi-system trauma-informed collaborative (MSTIC) has the overarching goals of increasing the capacity in identifying, screening, assessing, and treating youth exposed to violence, applying culturally competent, family-focused approaches, increasing knowledge and use of evidence-based policies, practices, and programs to improve service provision, monitoring impacts to improve outcomes, blending funding streams to sustain implementation.
A large proportion of incarcerated persons in the U.S. are low-income men of color who are fathers. Evidence is growing that many such men have experienced trauma early in life, and that experiencing trauma may complicate their efforts to reconnect with and support their families after incarceration. This report explores trauma in the reentry population and how responsible fatherhood programs can take a trauma-informed approach to the services they offer.