Juvenile Justice Task Force discusses mental health needs in the justice system

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The recently-formed Juvenile Justice Task Force met for the third time Monday in Augusta.

They focused on what the mental health needs are for those in the juvenile justice system.

It was also the first time the consulting firm they hired with federal money was at a meeting to talk about the plan going forward.

They say with so many individuals in the system with mental health issues, it's important to address them as a step in rehabilitation.

"That's critical to making sure that if we're placing an emphasis on rehabilitating youth and allowing them to be within the community and to be able to attend school and hold jobs and be productive members of the community, we have to focus on mental health issues," said Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, who co-chairs the Juvenile Justice Task Force. "And a substantial portion of the youth that are in the juvenile justice system, that are incarcerated at Long Creek, have significant mental health issues."

The task force is expected to release a report at the beginning of next year.