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Serious Juvenile Offenders: Demographic Variables, Diagnostic Problems, and Therapeutic Possibilities

NCJ Number
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Dated: (1987) Pages: 63-73
P Kramp; L Israelson; K V Mortensen; T Aarkrog
Date Published
11 pages
This Danish study examines the characteristics of a sample of serious juvenile offenders, discusses the concept of borderline disorders within the sample, and assesses the effectiveness of the Danish penal system in dealing with such juvenile offenders.
The sample consists of all juveniles 15-17 years old referred by the court for a forensic psychiatric examination at Copenhagen's Forensic Psychiatric Clinic from 1977 through 1982. Each of the 27 juveniles was evaluated by a forensic psychiatrist and a team composed of two adolescent psychiatrists and a clinical psychologist. All juveniles were males, and the crimes involved murder, dangerous assault, sexual crimes, arson, and burglary. The sample was not distinguishable from the general Danish population in socioeconomic background, but 60 percent came from broken homes, and many had alcohol abusing parents. Although the majority have had emotional and behavioral problems since early childhood, they had not received early treatment. The team determined that seven had borderline personality disorder. Overall, the sample had grave personality disturbances and were in great need of treatment. The Danish penal system does not have adequate treatment facilities and services for such juveniles. 4 tables and 31 references.