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Research of Juveniles with Mental Health Problems in Jail

By Helen Demeranville and Carl Ginsburg

Carl Ginsburg and Helen Demeranville set out to research the idea that facilities for juveniles with mental health problems were absent or inadequate in numerous communities. Five states and many interviews later, they found that their thesis held true for all locations researched. Juvenile justice officials are perplexed by the task they face of holding kids with mental health problems and are disappointed with state mental health systems. Parents are racked by the guilt associated with relinquishing sick children and haunted by their absence from home. As for the juveniles themselves, Ginsburg and Demeranville were astounded at poor conditions in the locked facilities they visited and in the lack of meaningful activity and counseling.Their work will result in a documentary on KCTS, the PBS affiliate in Seattle. Further research will expand the project to the national level.

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