Technology for Assessment and Treatment of Justice-Involved Youth: A Systematic Literature Review

Lauren Grove, Christopher M. King, Rachel Bomysoad, Loumarie Vasquez, Lauren E. Kois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: We conducted a systematic literature review of e-mental health technologies in juvenile justice contexts. Hypotheses: Our exploratory research questions were as follows: First, what types ofe-mental health exist for justice-involved youth, their caregivers, and juvenile justice professionals?Second, what are the characteristics of studies that have examined these technologies? Third, what havestudies found about the effectiveness, reliability, or validity of e-mental health in treating and assessingjuvenile justice populations? And fourth, what advantages and disadvantages exist for e-mental health usein juvenile justice? Method: We screened 759 articles and retained 36 for review. We included articlesthat investigated e-mental health for the assessment or treatment of justice-involved youth and theircaregivers. We excluded technologies not directly related to assessment or treatment as well as samples ofat-risk youth with no justice involvement. Results: We identified four types of e-mental healthtechnologies: Interventions with technology-facilitated interpersonal communication (e.g., tele-health and mHealth), digitized intervention programs, simulation games, and computerized assessments. Most study designs were experimental/quasi-experimental or qualitative/descriptive,followed closely by repeated measures/pretest–posttest. A majority of evidence suggested thate-mental health technologies were potentially effective or valid for treatment and assessment,especially telehealth. Advantages included positive opinions of users, increased access to care,and efficiency; disadvantages included barriers to accessing technology, privacy concerns, and lackof clear effectiveness, reliability, or validity data. Conclusions: Although the available evidence fore-mental health for juvenile justice is promising, the current literature base appears generallyunderdeveloped and nuanced. Worthwhile future directions include continued development oftechnologies and more rigorously conducted studies to support further implementation of e-mentalhealth for juvenile justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-426
Number of pages14
JournalLaw and human behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Assessment
  • E-mental health
  • Justice-involved youth
  • Telehealth
  • Treatment


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