Mental Health Association of Georgia says:
of incarcerated children have been diagnosed as
having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
of incarcerated children have clinical depression.
60% of children in the system abuse drugs and/or
overwhelming number of the children locked up are
youth prisons provide little or no clinical help for children
with mental problems
32 juvenile facilities, only 1 has an accredited school.
With a budget of over $250 million, the Department of
Juvenile Justice has a repeat offender rate of almost
80%. Community-based programs
are more effective at 1/3 the cost.
After a 1998 U.S. Department of Justice report termed
Georgia's juvenile justice system "egregious"
and mandated $68 million for its improvement, the State
of Georgia's response was to build 5 more prisons!
The Georgia Alliance for Children
wants Governor Sonny Perdue and the State Legislature to:
1. Place greater emphasis on community-based prevention
and correctional strategies by redirecting $50 million
of the Department of Juvenile Justice's $250 million budget
towards community programming. The $50 million should
be taken from what the DJJ plans to spend on correctional
2. Create a formula for
distributing the $50 million among Georgia's 159 counties
based on how effective each county is in reducing the
number of youth sent to state facilities.
3. Open juvenile court hearings for criminal cases
to the public as part of the creation of a Court Watch
Program intended to monitor the treatment of juveniles
in state court.
4. Make bail available
to juveniles as part of their constitutionally granted
"due process." This will immediately and greatly reduce
the dangerous overcrowding in short-term facilities that
detain youth waiting to be sentenced by the court.