Weekly Notes: Web Training on Mental Health Screening/Assessment; Walsh Act Deadline Extended; and more

*** If you don’t have plans from 3-4p.m. on June 30, the Council of State Governments Justice Center will be hosting a webinar on how to conduct mental health screenings and assessments properly in juvenile justice settings. The session will “outline simple and effective methods for doing both screening and assessment at various entry points into the juvenile justice system.  The emphasis will be on selecting methods that have been well-researched for their value and feasibility.”

The host for the webinar is Thomas Grisso, the University of Massachusetts professor who helped develop the widely used Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument. Register for the training here.

***Remember the Adam Walsh Act? States were supposed to come into compliance with all of its sex offender registry requirements by July, or face a 10 percent cut to its allotment of Byrne grants. There was some fear that, because of the leeway afforded to states as to who would be added to the sex offender registry, many juvenile offenders would end up on the list for life, not all of them for violent or serious sex offenses. The Justice Policy Institute made the argument that states should simply take the 10 percent penalty and not comply.

Turns out, states will have another year to decide. On May 26, Attorney General Eric Holder gave states a one-year extension on the deadline.

***The Pennsylvania Department of Public Works (DPW) is trying to collect the pensions of convicted Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan, claiming it is owed to the department for DPW’s share of the cost for detaining juveniles placed in detention by Ciavarella.

More and more of this case relies on the notion of a quid pro quo between Ciavarella and the detention operator, a notion that the judge was paid in exchange for detaining kids. You can bet lawyers for the judges will try and prove otherwise.

***Swine flu has hit the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. Three youths have been confirmed to have the illness, and another 18 youths and two staff members are being treated with antivirals for flu-like symptoms. Talk about a system that didn’t need one more thing to deal with.

***Pass the bill to eliminate life without parole for juveniles, Detroit Free-Press editorial writer Jeff Gerritt told state legislators, and don’t water down the legislation in the process.



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