This area currently contains information on mental health and substance misuse.

The mental health of young people who offend is a critical issue in their involvement with the youth justice system. There are known to be very high levels of mental health problems among young offenders. Some mental health problems may increase the risks of both offending and reoffending. Mental health problems can also lead to the misuse of drugs and alcohol, increased risk taking, and self-harm or suicide. The mental health area includes information on the Asset Mental Health Screening Tool, triggered by section 8 of the Asset Core Profile.

The link between substance misuse and offending behaviour is long established, and consequently one of the YJB's priorities is to see a reduction in the number of young people involved with the youth justice system who regularly misuse drugs, solvents or alcohol. The substance misuse area includes information on the work being done towards this priority within both the secure estate and in the community.
You can also access our research and publications relating to health issues.

Offender Health 2009/10

Healthy Children, Safer Communities - A strategy to promote the health and well-being of children and young people in contact with the youth justice system
This strategy was published by the Department of Health in December 2009.
It is available on the Department of Health website.
It is a joint document with the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office, and was written following an extensive consultation.

The strategy:

  • responds to the recommendations specific to the youth justice system made within Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems and learning disabilities in the criminal justice system

The strategy is delivered with three focus areas:

  •  The harnessing of mainstream services to reduce offending and reoffending, wherever a person is in the youth justice system and when they are at risk of coming into the system.

  • Addressing health and wellbeing at all stages of the youth justice system. It makes a commitment to improve the provision of primary and specialist healthcare services for young offenders in the community and to support and promote health and well-being in the secure estate.

  • Effecting change by policy and decision makers at a national, regional and local level championing a strong response to the health inequalities encountered by children and young people at risk of anti-social and offending behaviour.

The strategy will not form the full response to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS) review. This was published separately by the Department for Children, Schools and Families on 7 January 2010, and the full title is: 'Keeping Children and Young People in Mind - The Government's full response to the independent review of CAMHS'.

The document sets out the Government's commitments for the high-quality services that all children will receive, a description of the characteristics of effective services that all local areas are expected to be working towards and a package of support from the Government to help local areas deliver this. Download this report.

Youth Justice Board


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