This afternoon, Voices for Children Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Policy Coordinator Juliet Summers testified in favor of LB 598, which would change requirements regardings treatment and segregation of mentally ill inmates.
Voices for Children in Nebraska supports LB598, both because it would immediately affect a small number of children each year, and because it sets an important precedent in the handling of mental illness in the Nebraska correctional system that we would eventually like to see implemented through all stages of detention and incarceration.
A thoughtful response to mental illness in our incarcerated population benefits not only troubled offenders, but society at large. As most child convicts will eventually be released back into society, care should be taken that our correctional system does precisely that: corrects, rather than reinforces, pre-existing disorders. By requiring data reporting and the creation of a plan of action to reduce seclusion, LB 598 is an important step in ensuring the ongoing safety of both troubled youth and our communities.