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Innovation Brief: Mental Health Needs and Due Process Rights: Finding the Balance

Published Nov 30, 2012, Autumn Dickman, Juvenile Law Center

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Models for Change sites have launched a variety of initiatives to identify and treat justice involved youths with mental health and substance abuse problems. They include screening and assessment protocols in detention and at court intake, innovative diversion programs, and evidence-based treatment programs. But to reap the benefits of these initiatives, youths often have to answer questions about offending behavior. That puts many of them at risk of incriminating themselves and facing prosecution for new offenses. The challenge facing Models for Change sites was how to implement creative initiatives to identify and treat these youths while upholding their due process rights.

This brief is one in a series describing new knowledge and innovations emerging from Models for Change, a multi-state juvenile justice initiative. Models for Change is accelerating movement toward a more effective, fair, and developmentally sound juvenile justice system by creating replicable models that protect community safety, use resources wisely, and improve outcomes for youths. The briefs are intended to inform professionals in juvenile justice and related fields, and to contribute to a new national wave of juvenile justice reform.


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Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.

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