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Senior Research Fellow Randy Shelden’s recent blog, titled “”, discusses the dire situation facing youth with mental health issues within the juvenile justice system. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy researched a program that has demonstrated the ability to be successful with juvenile justice involved youth with mental health issues. 

The results are in…Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) does reduce recidivism, thus reducing the related costs to taxpayers. DBT, devised by Marsha Linehan, to treat clients with Borderline Personality Disorders is composed of four major modules: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional modulation, and distress tolerance. In a four-year longitudinal study, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy determined that DBT does reduce recidivism rates for juvenile justice involved youth with mental health issues. For example, DBT reduced felonies by 15% for new felonies, and 9% for violent crimes. Although there needs to be a longer and larger study performed, results are positive and encouraging. 

~Rebeca Ishii, CJCJ staff