International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Dr. Laurie Ross

Second Reader

Professor Jennifer Safford-Farquharson


Nearly 60% of youth involved in the juvenile justice system in the United States have a diagnosable mental illness (Buffington, 2010; SAMHSA, 2012). These high and proven risk youth have fallen through the cracks in the behavioral health system, with a lack of prevention, intervention, and effective treatment methods being provided to them prior to incarceration. This paper presents connections between childhood trauma, undiagnosed and untreated mental illnesses, and delinquency in adulthood for high and proven-risk young men. It also investigates barriers to engaging high and proven risk young men in treatment with the concepts of stigma, and hyper-masculinity introduced. In addition to the literature, an analysis of the behavioral health programming of the Safe and Successful Youth Initiative (SSYI) in Worcester, MA focuses on exploring the importance of clinicians using trust and relationship building techniques within their therapeutic models to produce higher rates of engagement with high and proven risk youth.





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