European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 339–347 | Cite as

Six years on: a prospective cohort study of male juvenile offenders in secure care

  • Prathiba Chitsabesan
  • Justine Rothwell
  • Cassandra Kenning
  • Heather Law
  • Lesley- Ann Carter
  • Sue Bailey
  • Andrew Clark
Original Contribution


Longitudinal studies are helpful in understanding developmental trajectories and recognising opportunities for early intervention. This paper describes the long-term needs and mental health of an initial sample of male juvenile offenders, now adults 6 years after their index admission to secure care. In this prospective cohort study of 97 male juvenile offenders admitted to secure, offenders were assessed initially on admission, 2 and 6 years later. Interviews were conducted with 54 offenders at the 6-year follow-up and included an assessment of psychosocial need, mental health and psychopathy. Outcome data on offending behaviour were collected on a total of 71 offenders. Persistent offenders have needs in multiple domains as they transition into adulthood. The majority of offenders were single and about a half were in neither employment nor training. Almost nine out of ten offenders had a substance misuse disorder and a similar number met the criteria for a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. Substance misuse in adolescence was strongly correlated with later substance misuse in adulthood, emphasising the importance of early intervention. A diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder and living with friends and family were both significantly associated with persistent offending behaviour. Many offenders continued to reoffend despite receiving offence-related interventions and custodial care. Interventions currently aimed at reducing recidivism in more severe offenders appear to be ineffective. Persistent offenders would benefit from a multi-modal approach based on individual needs, rather than receiving generic interventions.


Offender Mental health Needs Antisocial personality disorder Psychopathy and substance misuse 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prathiba Chitsabesan
    • 1
  • Justine Rothwell
    • 2
  • Cassandra Kenning
    • 2
  • Heather Law
    • 3
  • Lesley- Ann Carter
    • 4
  • Sue Bailey
    • 5
  • Andrew Clark
    • 6
  1. 1.Child and Family Service (Stepping Hill Hospital)Pennine Care NHS Foundation TrustManchesterUK
  2. 2.Psychiatry Research Group, School of Community Based MedicineUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  3. 3.Psychology DepartmentGreater Manchester West NHS Foundation TrustManchesterUK
  4. 4.Biostatistics Group in Health Sciences, Methodology in the School of Community Based MedicineUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  5. 5.Division of Health and Social Care and Health InformaticsUniversity of Central LancashirePrestonUK
  6. 6.Gardener UnitGreater Manchester West NHS Foundation TrustManchesterUK

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