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Reports Cites Mental Health Treatment Gaps at California’s DJJ Facilities

The Chronicle of Social Change highlights a new CJCJ study on conditions at California’s state youth correctional facilties, the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The report found that, despite over a decade of court monitoring, DJJ continues to be a dangerous and traumatic place, which fails to provide adequate safety or mental health services for California’s justice-involved youth.

From the article: 

Given the lawsuit is over, there is nobody holding DJJ accountable,” said Erica Webster, one of the authors of the report. There is no longer an independent monitoring entity making sure that DJJ is following through” on its remediation plans.

CJCJ co-authors Webster and Nisha Ajmani point to a lack of access to mental health care at the DJJ facilities, citing a December 2015 oversight report that described a lack of trained mental health professionals at the facilities, including psychologists. The situation became severe enough that youth who required intermediate and acute mental health care were transferred to adult prisons to receive mental health treatment.

It shows [DJJ ] doesn’t have the ability to treat these young people who have severe and serious mental health needs,” said Ajmani. Now, there isn’t going to be any comprehensive follow up to the issues that were left unaddressed at the end of the lawsuit. This raises serious concerns on our part in relation to the mental health system at the facilities.”

Read the full report Failure After Farrell: Violence and Inadequate Mental Health Care in California’s Division of Juvenile Justice” »