Ethical and legal issues in the care of transgender youth in the juvenile justice system

C. R. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


The juvenile justice system faces ethical and legal issues in dealing with transgender youth. They are entitled to the same legal rights and protections while in state custody as other youth. Within the juvenile justice system, they are at risk for abuse and sexual assault by other youth. This article provides an overview of the issues regarding transgender youth in the juvenile justice system. Transgender youth are at risk for involvement in the juvenile justice system for several reasons, including rejection by families, schools and social networks that lead to contact with law enforcement. A number of legal cases have established some standards for their care and protection, but correctional facilities are often unable or do not know how to meet their needs. It is important for clinicians working with transgender youth to be aware of the risks they face with the juvenile justice system and the protections and treatment they are entitled to receive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100464
JournalEthics, Medicine and Public Health
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Adolescents
  • Juvenile justice
  • LGBT
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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