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Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2015 Nov;85(6):515-21. doi: 10.1037/ort0000139.

Responding to the mental health and substance abuse needs of youth in the juvenile justice system: Ohio's Behavioral Health/Juvenile Justice Initiative.

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Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education.


Nearly half a million inmates with mental health issues are housed in our country’s jails and prisons. The majority of juvenile justice-involved (JJI) youth have a history of behavioral health (mental health or substance use) problems. Multiple studies estimate that between 65% to 75% of juvenile justice-involved youth have at least one behavioral health disorder, and 20% to 30% report suffering from a serious behavioral disorder. With so many juveniles with behavioral health issues entering a system that was not designed to provide comprehensive treatment, communities are reevaluating their approach to juvenile justice. This article describes the origins and the results of Ohio’s Behavioral Health Juvenile Justice Initiative (BHJJ), a diversion program for juvenile justice-involved youth with behavioral health issues. The authors also discuss the key components of program success, offer advice to other jurisdictions considering implementing similar programming, and identify ways to take diversion programs to scale. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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