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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 15(2)

Reintegrating young offenders into the community through discharge planning: a review of interventions and needs of youth in secure care

Anne Wilson A B, Phillip Tully A

A School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: anne.wilson@adelaide.edu.au
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The health status of young offenders is often poorer than similar aged non-offenders. Addressing young offender needs is a key priority for their rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. The objectives were to identify programs and interventions that assist detained youth through focussed discharge planning by a systematic review of the literature. In addition, this review examined the identified health needs of young offenders in secure care. Our systematic review searched electronic databases using the keyword terms youth, secure care, health assessment and primary health care. Keyword browser terms were also entered as search strings, and only literature from 1997 onwards was retained. Twenty-two pieces of published literature were retained, and these documented the needs and service utilisation of young offenders. Mental health problems and trauma exposure were commonly identified in the literature, as was general physical health deficits and social and familial problems. Retrieved articles also made recommendations for health assessments and discharge planning, and some provided discharge planning models. Young offenders have diverse needs that can be ascertained from quality assessment measures. Effective discharge planning is important to attend to ongoing health issues and aid rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. By administering a comprehensive multidimensional screening measure upon admission to secure care, individualised care plans can be formulated with discharge planning measures. Recommendations for further study include the development and implementation of a needs assessment tool in youth secure-care facilities that complements the existing assessments and helps reintegrate young offenders to primary health care and community services.

Keywords: health assessment.

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