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Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – Juveniles With Mental Health Issues – Important Issues To Understand

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Juvenile Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer

Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law - Juveniles With Mental Health Issues -  Important Issues To Understand


Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – Juveniles With Mental Health Issues – Important Issues To Understand

Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – Juveniles With Mental Health Issues – Important Issues To Understand – Those who practice in the Colorado Juvenile Justice System watch each day as children with mental health issues are treated as criminals for lack of better options open to that system.

A very large percentage – some estimate at up to 70% of all juveniles who come into contact with the Colorado Juvenile Justice System – have a diagnosable mental health disorder. The question must therefore asked – WHY do these kids end up charged with crimes and in juvenile court? Once there – how can the experienced Colorado Juvenile Crimes Lawyer divert them out of the system?

The Goal: Diverting Juveniles Out Of The Colorado Juvenile Justice System

To answer the question as to how these kids end up in Colorado Juvenile Court – the answer is easy – the general (and mistaken) that there is no where else to treat them.

Let’s look at some of the new ideas that are in the pipeline in Colorado and across the country.

The goal is simple – juveniles who have mental health needs should – if possible – be diverted from ever entering the juvenile justice system – or once there – be diverted OUT OF the system and into a more appropriate provider of services.

Estimates put arrests of juveniles at more than 600,000. These are children who are placed in detention centers – such as those in Colorado… which are essentially jails. On any single day 70,000 juveniles reside in juvenile correctional facilities such as Colorado’s Division Of Youth Corrections. These kids suffer from mental health disorders at a rate that is at least three times higher than those youth not in the criminal justice system.

How Bad Is The Problem? Juvenile Mental Health Needs In Juvenile Court


Research demonstrates that 65% to 70% of youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system have at least one diagnosable mental health disorder;

Of these – More than 60% also have a substance use disorder;
And of those with a mental health disorder – 30% of have disorders that are serious enough to require immediate ongoing treatment.
 

Juveniles Are Often Incarcerated For NON – VIOLENT OFFENSES

It should come as no surprise that many of the juveniles who find themselves under arrest have had lives with much higher rates of exposure to traumatic experiences than there counterparts. Furthermore the  juvenile justice system places many kids into juvenile courts for what often turn out to be non-violent offenses. Because of a lack of understanding – (ignorance really) – and a lack of resources available to treat these kids – they are locked up.

The Research Supports Funding Diversion And Treatment Modalities

The Colorado juvenile justice system is not set up to address a youth’s mental health needs. Research over the last decade has established that “community-based treatment interventions” such as diversion programs are well suited to address the issue. These programs are much less expensive than incarcerating these juveniles and have had tremendously successful results.

Recently many new tools have developed as a result of research into the way a juvenile’s minds works and criminal defense lawyers should fight HARD to get these kids “re-routed” in existing programs here in Colorado.

Today mental health screening and assessment tools as well as new protocols exist to help divert out juveniles mistakenly arrested and placed into the juvenile justice system.

The emphasis now is on “evidence-based intervention and treatment programs” not old stereotypes and prejudgments about “bad kids.”

Adolescent development and brain research should be used by Colorado criminal defense lawyers to mitigate and explain why an individual client did and why that research supports that juvenile’s capacity for change.

Still Held Accountable – Just In A Different Way

This approach is what the Colorado juvenile justice system has always intended to be – rehabilitative and not just punitive. The idea is to hold juvenile’s accountable for their crimes but in the context of rehabilitation, – protecting them from the harm of the system itself – increasing their options and their chances in life and “managing” the risks they may pose in the present while ushering them into a new future.

Locking up juveniles out of frustration makes no sense. Institutionalizing them under the conditions of lock up and confined with others in Colorado’s Youth Correctional System (DYC) LINK is the wrong thing to do.

The Problem With “Zero Tolerance”

After tragedies such as Columbine High School – many public schools developed “zero tolerance” no prisoners policies that have since led to immediate school arrests of juveniles and quick expulsions with little concern about the reasons for the conduct involved.

The need to take a more reasoned approach to juvenile crime has reached critical mass. Juveniles with behavioral and mental health needs exist in very large numbers and there are answers today that can help these kids. Among these ideas are the following:

    • Community settings – with effective “evidence-based” modalities of treatment.
    • Diversion programs – with access to treatment modalities outside the Colorado juvenile justice system.
    • At the time of arrest: mental health screening tools available at the gate of the juvenile justice system.
    • Mental Health Training for Colorado Law Enforcement and Institutional Juvenile Justice Staff.
    • Resources that support families engaged in trying to help their children through the Colorado juvenile justice system

Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – Juveniles With Mental Health Issues – Important Issues To Understand

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Never stop fighting for your child  – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at hmsteinberg@hotmail.com – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277. Attorney H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case.

A Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. If you are seeking counsel there maybe other more specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics. For that, please contact the author.

If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about the topic of this article – Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – Juveniles With Mental Health Issues – Important Issues To Understand, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

Colorado Juvenile Criminal Defense LawyerH. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of day to day courtroom experience – specializing in Colorado Criminal Law along the Front Range. He will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options. Remember, it costs NOTHING to discuss your case. Call now for an immediate free phone consultation.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases.

Contact A Lawyer with Three Decades of Experience as a Denver Criminal Attorney at The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm today.

Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg regularly appears and provides solid criminal defense for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the courts of:

Adams County (Adams County criminal defense lawyer), Arapahoe County (Arapahoe County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Boulder (Boulder County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Broomfield (Broomfield County criminal defense lawyer), City and County of Denver (Denver criminal defense lawyer), Douglas County (Douglas County criminal defense lawyer), El Paso County – Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer), Gilpin County (Gilpin County criminal defense lawyer), Jefferson County (Jefferson County criminal defense lawyer), Larimer County, and Weld County ( Larimer and Weld County criminal defense lawyer,….

and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving the subject of this article – Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law – Juveniles With Mental Health Issues – Important Issues To Understand.

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Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law - Juveniles With Mental Health Issues - Important Issues To Understand
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Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law - Juveniles With Mental Health Issues - Important Issues To Understand
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Colorado Juvenile Criminal Law - Juveniles With Mental Health Issues - Important Issues To Understand - Those who practice in the Colorado Juvenile Justice System watch each day as children with mental health issues are treated as criminals for lack of better options open to that system.
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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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