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LGBTQ Youth in Juvenile Correctional Facilities at High Risk for Suicide and Self-Harm

Author: The Williams Institute
Author Contact: Rachel Dowd, dowd@law.ucla.edu
Published: 29th Nov 2022 - Updated: 30th Nov 2022
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: LGBTQ+ News Publications

Summary: A new study finds that LGBTQ youth are disproportionally represented in juvenile correctional facilities.


Main Document

A new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that LGBTQ youth are disproportionally represented in juvenile correctional facilities. The majority of LGBTQ youth held in custody are girls (64%) and youth of color (72%), and they face a significantly greater risk of suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and self-harm.

Using data from the Minnesota Student Survey, a statewide population survey of youth, researchers from UCLA, Vanderbilt, Brown, and Yale Universities examined the mental health experiences of LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ youth in juvenile correctional facilities and public schools. Results show that compared to straight, cisgender youth in public schools, incarcerated LGBTQ youth were twice as likely to think about suicide, six times more likely to attempt suicide, and nearly four times more likely to engage in self-harm.

Among incarcerated youth, LGBTQ youth had a greater risk of suicide and self-harm than their straight, cisgender peers.

"LGBTQ youth start with more stressful experiences as children, which lead to adverse mental health outcomes. But rather than being cared for, they end up in juvenile correctional facilities in larger numbers than non-LGBTQ youth," said study co-author llan H. Meyer, Ph.D., Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. "These youth must manage the stress of a carceral setting while navigating sexual and gender minority identities, which can increase exposure to violence, bullying, and isolation."

KEY FINDINGS

"Interventions are needed to reduce pathways to incarceration for LGBTQ youth and to buffer the harmful effects of adverse childhood experiences," said lead author Kirsty A. Clark, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University. "Supportive policies that lessen exposure to minority stressors and increase coping skills in the face of victimization are warranted."

ABOUT THE STUDY

The report, "Mental Health Among Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Incarcerated in Juvenile Corrections" appears in Pediatrics and is co-authored by Kirsty A. Clark, Ph.D., M.P.H., Tyler D. Harvey, M.P.H., Jaclyn White Hughto, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Ilan Meyer, Ph.D.

References and Source(s):

LGBTQ Youth in Juvenile Correctional Facilities at High Risk for Suicide and Self-Harm | The Williams Institute (Rachel Dowd, dowd@law.ucla.edu). SexualDiversity.org makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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• (APA): The Williams Institute. (2022, November 29). LGBTQ Youth in Juvenile Correctional Facilities at High Risk for Suicide and Self-Harm. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved January 30, 2023 from www.sexualdiversity.org/news/1102.php


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