LifeStyleSocialMental Health of Juvenile Offenders and Prisoner

Mental Health of Juvenile Offenders and Prisoner

Technologically advanced in the 21st Century, along with daily life hustles, stress, and anxiety which heads up to another challenge in our life that is to keep oneself Mentally Happy, which is known as good and strong mental health. But, does one really fulfil this need in their daily lives? According to the World Health Organization report, every one in four people are suffering from some kind of mental illness. Around the world, according to WHO, 450 million people are suffering from some kind of mental illness. But, the main problem here arises is that many people in society are even not aware of what is mental health?

MENTAL HEALTH is basically being fit and happy from all domains of oneself, including one’s spiritual, physical, social, cognitive, behavioural as well as emotional well-being. It does not just include being emotionally and socially happy, as sometimes, being physically ill or even feeling ill make one’s mental health worse. Mental Health is a very sensitive topic and it should be dealt with great care, especially in the current times, of COVID-19 disease which is an ongoing pandemic globally and which has caused havoc in the world. But, these situations clearly do not impact the status of mental health in India. Legally, there are many sections under our Indian Penal Code, which supports individuals who are suffering from any kind of mental health challenge, however, till now, many societies, families, culture, are not aware of mental health and do not recognize the importance of mental health. So, the importance of mental health is not much in India even the legal laws, the government is lending support to the individuals and families who are suffering from mental health issues, but people as a society do not accept it as an illness instead, they stigmatize it and keep it under the cover.

Why is Mental Health Important?

  • Mental health is important because it impacts the way one thinks, feels, and act and hence enhances or degrade the thinking pattern.
  • If one is emotionally and mentally healthy, the person can be productive in his/her life, and it also enhances effectiveness in various activities.
  • It plays an important role in helping and allowing the person to adapt to different environmental changes, dealing with stress and anxiety.
  • Mental Health also impacts one’s positive interpersonal relationships.
  • Mental Health also impacts the country’s crime rate because people who commit crimes; most of them have some mental disorder.
  • Mental Health affects one’s daily life functioning and ability to carry out daily life activities such as sound sleep, proper appetite, regular exercise.

According to a government report, more than 5% of people suicide every year due to mental disorders, but what are the mental issues prevalent which led the person to suicide? Explore below the prevalent mental health issues:

  • DEPRESSION: One of the most prevalent mental health issues is Depression. It is a mental disorder that affects 264 million people worldwide. It is characterized basically by persistent sadness and loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
  • SCHIZOPHRENIA: Another mental health type includes Schizophrenia wherein the people see or hear things which do not exist in reality and also experience delusions. This disorder is commonly seen in prisoners and juvenile offenders.
  • OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER: Another issue which affects 2.2% population in the country is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, wherein the person is unable to control their thoughts about a particular event or object and repetitively acting in the same direction.
  • ANXIETY DISORDER: Another disorder which is most prevalent in India is an anxiety disorder which makes the person’s loss of appetite, sleeplessness, frequent urination and tremors, unable to relax, and loss of control of oneself.
  • EATING DISORDERS: Another type of mental disorder which is most commonly seen in adolescents is eating disorders which include anorexia nervosa (starving oneself to death), bulimia nervosa (eating and then purging), and binge disorder (regular episodes of overeating).
  • CONDUCT DISORDERS OR DELINQUENT: This is another most prevalent type of disorder or behavior seen in adolescents where one behaves in an anti-social manner and breaks the laws and commits crimes.

There are many other types of mental health issues which are less common but affect the individuals.

Due to many protests, awareness drives, and rallies, in current times, people are getting aware of mental illness and how to deal with it, but, there is a category of the population in the society whose mental health has never got considered as an issue for the individual. That category of the population includes juvenile offenders, prisoners, and delinquent adolescents who live in prisons and juvenile justice board on the authority and order of the court in order to fulfill the punishment of the crime which they have committed in their past. Everyone who committed a crime, after living some time in prison or juvenile justice board shows remorse except a few who are stubborn and rigid due to their upbringing and environment influence earlier in their childhood.

But, here the main concern arises that what is Juvenile Delinquency? And does it happen in India?

Delinquency refers to a variety of behaviors, ranging from socially unacceptable behaviors to crimes and legal offenses. Types of Juvenile Delinquency include Stealing, burglary, vandalism; and in today’s day and age, cybercrime is also considered as an act of delinquent behavior. Types of Juvenile Delinquency also include status offenses which can be running away from home, underage drinking, Property Crimes includes stealing, burglary, shoplifting, theft and arson, and, violent crimes that include murder, robbery, and aggravated assault. This is done by boys and girls under 18 and these acts are against the law. According to government reports and statistics, juvenile delinquency cases have been increased rapidly after 2014 and it has experienced a 7.3% rise in delinquent behavior. Maximum numbers of cases of juvenile delinquency in India are found in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. Another insight given by government reports is that most of the juvenile delinquency cases in India were done against women.

Causes for Juvenile Delinquency

  • POVERTY- Juvenile indulges in various delinquent acts to satisfy their needs and desires when there is a lack of money.
  • AVOIDANT PARENTS- Juveniles indulge themselves in these types of acts to be a center of attention of everybody due to lack of parental love and care in their lives.
  • BAD PEER INFLUENCES- Juvenile indulge in delinquent cases due to their peer pressure and in order to avoid being different from others.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA OR VIRTUAL WORLD- Juvenile indulge in these acts especially on most of the social media platforms where they hide their identity and commit crimes which are also referred to as CYBER CRIMES.
  • SUBSTANCE ABUSE- Juvenile indulges in these acts when they live on intoxicant substances such as drugs, alcohol that makes them lose their control over themselves.
  • LACK OF SOCIAL AND MORAL TRAINING- lack of difference between right and wrong behavior, ethical and moral behavior and lack of social and moral values can also lead to delinquent behavior.

Another contemporary concern of researchers is that do governmental laws, punishments affect the mental health of these prisoners, juvenile delinquents, and offenders.

  • A study stated that people (delinquents, juvenile offenders, and prisoners) show remorse, and experience symptoms of Schizophrenia which is the most prevalent disorder in this category. The main reason for this kind of disorder, according to the study, that people who committed a crime show remorse for the crime and even started hallucinating and delusions about the person they have committed the crime with. Out of all the juvenile who get arrested due to commitment of a crime or delinquent behavior, 65-75% of juvenile offenders and prisoners found to have mental illnesses and many juvenile delinquents also found to have a severe mental illness which impairs one’s overall functioning which includes physical, social, as well as occupational functioning which obstructs his or her capability to function as a young person and evolved into a more responsible adult.
  • Another disorder which may exist in a juvenile offender and is very prevalent among them is substance abuse disorder. It refers to the abuse of a particular intoxicant which can include drug, Smoking, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, alcohol, substance which impairs the functioning of the person and their well-being.
  • Other disorders include anxiety disorder, and it is prevalent with both the juvenile offenders as well as prisoners as many studies showed that after committing a crime, many people remain tensed and anxious throughout the day and even they lost their sound sleep and loss of appetite.
  • There is one disorder which is the most prevalent among all the offenders, whether they are juveniles or adults that comprise of Post-Traumatic stress Disorder which refers to having stress even after coming out of a frustrating and stressful situation, and experiencing nightmares, flashbacks, lack of concentration and there are many more symptoms. These all things can also occur with a person who has lived their life sometime back in prison or juvenile justice board as many studies showed that prisoners and juvenile offenders and delinquents who have lived in prisons in their past due to commitment of a crime, experience post-traumatic stress disorder and they even experience flashbacks and nightmares which include the pictures of prison and how they were treated in there and even show behavior which can prove to be distressing and dangerous for the person who is living with that person and they even show loss of sleep and appetite, tremors, frequent urination which heads up to panic attacks and loss of control over themselves.
  • Another issue which a prisoner or juvenile offender faced most of the times is a stigma on them by the society as society thinks that all the individuals who have lived in the prison at some point in their lives are a bad influence to the society which leads to isolation and alienation of the person from the society, friends, family as well as relatives. There are many studies that even showed that many prisoners and juvenile suicide due to mental health issues and the stigma they face throughout their lives imposed by society.But, why these disorders occur, especially in those people who intentionally commit a crime. Explore various reasons for occurring of remorse and mental health disorders in Juvenile offenders and delinquents and prisoners.
  • The first thing which affects the mental health of prisoners, juvenile offenders, and delinquents, even after some consideration from psychologists and government is isolation from families and friends and social networks.
  • Another thing which imposed many issues in an individual’s mental health is lack of privacy as in most cases, more than one person has to stay in the prison cell, and they are not provided with any personal or physical hygiene which leads to most of the problems such as anxious mood, bipolar mood disorder, depression, and even a person can turn violent and aggressive.
  • Another problem that implants mental illness in an individual’s mind is the behavior of the unsympathetic and uniformed staff. People faced bullying, aggression; hitting, verbal abuse from the staff, which can traumatize them and this situation is much more prevalent in the case of juvenile offenders.
  • Another issue is there is a lack of purposeful activity and no rehabilitation program which will try to rehabilitate the person in the society and will teach them how to survive in the society by improving them with the knowledge of social training, occupational training, and vocational skills.

These all are some pointers or conditions which can pressurize one towards mental illness and ineffective well-being. Mental Health has keen importance, especially in the current times and it is leading to a lot of problems and even deaths of individuals, hence, it should be given ample importance and consideration.


Ishika Khandelwal
Ishika Khandelwal
Hi Everyone, I am doing major in Psychology and I am a Mental Health enthusiast and working for two non-governmental organizations in order to provide education to unprivileged children. I have a lot of interest in reading as well as writing. I am a true extrovert and love to be being around people.

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