Journal of Child and Family Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, 1999. pp. 205-215
Andres J. Pumariega, M.D.,
D. Lanette Atkins, M.D.,
Larry Montgomery, M.D.,
Cheryl Nybro, Ph.D.,
Robert Caesar, Ph.D.,
and Donald Millus, B.S.
The incarceration of mentally ill youth is a serious problem not receiving the
same attention as in adults. In this study, we examine the level of prior service
utilization in incarcerated youth versus youth receiving community mental health
services. We randomly recruited youth from middle South Carolina served by a
local community mental health center (CMHC;
60), hospitalized in the state
adolescent inpatient program (n = 50), and incarcerated in the S.C. Dept. of Ju-
venile Justice facilities
75). We used a Services History to evaluate episodes
of prior utilization of mental health, social service, educational, residential, and
volunteer services, as well as the DISC-PC 2.3 to evaluate DSM-III-R diagnoses
and symptoms and the CBCL and YSR to evaluate behavioral symptomatology.
Incarcerated, hospitalized, and CMHC youth utilized similar levels of educational
services and social services. Incarcerated youth had a significantly lower lifetime
utilization of outpatient and acute mental health services and significantly higher
utilization of out-of-home residential services than the other groups. These ser-
vices utilization variables, along with gender and age, significantly distinguish
incarcerated youth from the clinical groups, with clinical variables not serving to
Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, James H. Quillen College
of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee.
Medical Director, New Hope Midlands Residential Treatment Center, West Columbia, South Carolina.
Assistant Professor, Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of South
Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, South Carolina.
Director of Inpatient Facilities, South Carolina Department of Mental Health, Columbia, South
Engineer, KHARAR Engineering, Columbia, South Carolina.
Deputy Associate Director for Child and Adolescent Services, William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute,
South Carolina, Department of Mental Health, Columbia, South Carolina.
Medical Student, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, South Carolina.
Correspondence should be directed to Andres J. Pumariega, East Tennessee State University, P.O.
Box 70567, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614.
l062-1024/99/0600-0205$16.00/0 © 1999 Human Sciences Press, Inc.