Juvenile fitness for trial: Lawyer and youth justice officer professional survey

Bruce D. Watt, Jodie O'Leary, Suzie O'Toole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Fitness to stand trial is a necessary requisite for a fair trial in judicial proceedings. Research within Australia is limited regarding juvenile fitness for trial, though recent evidence indicates that juvenile offenders are half as likely to be found unfit to stand trial compared to adult offenders. The study surveys lawyers (n = 20) and youth justice workers (n = 20) about their experiences with juveniles in the Queensland youth justice system. Over the preceding 12 months, 133 juveniles were identified as potentially unfit. Intellectual impairment (37%), immaturity (28%), and mental illness (26%) were the most prevalent conditions. Indigenous Australians were rarely referred for mental health evaluation. In comparison, juveniles (mostly non-indigenous) with mental illness and intellectual impairment were significantly more likely to be referred for evaluation. Pragmatic and tactical reasons were most frequently given for non-referral to the Queensland Mental Health Court, which at the time decided fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-204
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Lawyers
Queensland
Social Justice
fitness
lawyer
Mental Health
justice
mental illness
mental health
juvenile offender
evaluation
Research
offender
pragmatics
worker
Surveys and Questionnaires
evidence
experience

Cite this

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Juvenile fitness for trial : Lawyer and youth justice officer professional survey. / Watt, Bruce D.; O'Leary, Jodie; O'Toole, Suzie.

In: Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2017, p. 191-204.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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