Health Leaders Urge Congress to Support Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act

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The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law joined health and mental health leaders from around the country in calling on Congress to support juvenile justice reform by reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA).

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The reintroduction of JJDPA legislation will allow us to continue to focus treatment and intervention for the most vulnerable and underserved

Today, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law joined health and mental health leaders from around the country in calling on Congress to support juvenile justice reform by reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). The JJDPA was scheduled for reauthorization in 2007.

"Reauthorization of the JJDPA will help divert from the justice system those juveniles who will be more readily rehabilitated in the community," said Chris Koyanagi, director of public policy for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

"The reintroduction of JJDPA legislation will allow us to continue to focus treatment and intervention for the most vulnerable and underserved," said Louis Kraus, M.D., Chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rush University and Co-chair of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's (AACAP) Juvenile Justice Committee. "Early education and intervention programs that target at-risk children and adolescents will reduce recidivism."

In supporting the JJDPA, Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director, of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals and advocates in the world dedicated to promoting and protecting the health of the public and our communities states, "I write in support of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2009. Certain components of the current law should be strengthened to better protect the mental and physical health of youths in the juvenile justice system, such as eliminating dangerous practices and protecting youth under the age of 18 from being housed with incarcerated adults."

To view full text of the letters to Congress, visit:

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
http://www.act4jj.org/media/documents//document_98.pdf

American Psychiatric Association
http://www.act4jj.org/media/documents//document_102.pdf

American Public Health Association
http://www.act4jj.org/media/documents//document_103.pdf

American Academy of Pediatrics
http://www.act4jj.org/media/documents//document_99.pdf

Organizational letter
http://www.act4jj.org/media/documents//document_109.pdf

For additional information on the Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), visit: http://www.act4jj.org.

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