Juvenile Law Center

Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Protecting Youth from Self-Incrimination When Undergoing Screening, Assessment and Treatment Within the Juvenile Justice System

When a youth involved with the juvenile justice system is screened or assessed to identify, evaluate, and/or treat behavioral health disorders, there is a chance that the youth will incriminate him or herself. This monograph reviews state statutes to determine what safeguards exist to protect youth from this form of self-incrimination. It concludes that the vast majority of states currently do not have protections that prevent statements made by youth from being used against them at the guilt and punishment phases of delinquency cases and criminal trials. The document provides examples of statutes and court rules that policy and law makers can use as models to enact protections for youth.

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