Abstract: 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 of e-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 have studies found about the effectiveness, reliability, or validity of e-mental health in treating and assessing juvenile justice populations? And fourth, what advantages and disadvantages exist for e-mental health use in juvenile justice? Method: We screened 759 articles and retained 36 for review. We included articles that investigated e-mental health for the assessment or treatment of justice-involved youth and their caregivers.We excluded technologies not directly related to assessment or treatment as well as samples of at-risk youth with no justice involvement. Results: We identified four types of e-mental health technologies: Interventions with technology-facilitated interpersonal communication (e.g., telehealth 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 that e-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 lack of clear effectiveness, reliability, or validity data. Conclusions: Although the available evidence for e-mental health for juvenile justice is promising, the current literature base appears generally underdeveloped and nuanced. Worthwhile future directions include continued development of technologies and more rigorously conducted studies to support further implementation of e-mental health for juvenile justice.
Public Significance Statement: E-mental health, and especially telehealth, has shown some potential as a set of strategies to increase justice-involved youths’ access to needed behavioral health care. However, such potential requires more rigorous empirical investigation, including greater attention to the risk for health disparities that may stem from inequitable access to or delivery of e-mental health.