Pubdate: Fri,  6 Feb 2004
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2004 San Jose Mercury News
Author: George Kennedy, District Attorney, Santa Clara County


I agree that the governor needs to improve mental health services for 
California's juvenile offenders (Opinion, Jan. 30). I know from my office's 
participation in Santa Clara County's Juvenile Mental Health Court that 
quality mental health services for juvenile offenders are possible and 
successful in preventing further penetration into the juvenile justice 
system by youth.

While inadequacies at the California Youth Authority need to be addressed, 
earlier intervention is important. When youths first enter the juvenile 
justice system, we need to screen and assess their mental health and 
substance abuse problems and provide quality treatment services. Research 
by the program Fight Crime: Invest in Kids shows that law enforcement 
leaders around the California believe early intervention services for 
troubled youth should become a public priority. Programs proven to prevent 
juvenile crime are a wise investment.

George Kennedy

District attorney

Santa Clara County 
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