Adolescent gang members and mental health

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Youth gang members as a whole display a greater level of anti-authority than either peripheral youth or non-gang members. Gang-affiliated youth are often outside the bounds of the traditional mental health services and have particular needs. Because of the increased risk to exposure to violence, these youth have increased rates of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

There are high levels of mental health disorders within the juvenile detention population as a whole, estimated to affect between 40–70%, including psychotic disorders, mood disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, disruptive behavior disorders, and substance use disorders.

 

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Shoot to Kill: Why Baltimore is one of the most lethal cities in the U.S.

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Quinzell Covington went on a shooting “caper” for the first time in the late 1990s with his cousins and friends. The tough guys who raised him in ways of the streets pulled the trigger that day. Afterward, over Chinese takeout, Covington tried to ingratiate himself with the crew by declaring that their victim got what he deserved.

He was about 13 years old. Growing up, he knew it was wrong to shoot a man. Still, Covington said, he didn’t feel remorse. What he did feel was that his crew had newfound respect for him.

By 15, he was the one doing the shooting. Over the next dozen years, Covington learned to do it well. He used 9 mm guns that held 16 bullets and Mac-10 submachine guns. He lured victims to his turf, where he could scout for witnesses and surveillance cameras, in what he called his “Miranda check” — a macabre reference to the right to remain silent.

He also knew where to aim.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE:  Shoot to Kill: Why Baltimore is one of the most lethal cities in the U.S. Source: Baltimore Sun