If you’re familiar with the Langston Hughes poem, Mother to Son, you’ll recognize the phrase, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” The College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology will host an event that explores a similar theme through the scope of juvenile crime and mental health.
The 2014 Royce West Forum and Lecture Series will be held Friday, April 25 from 9:00 to 12:00 p.m. in the Don K. Clark Building auditorium. The theme of the forum is “Juvenile Crime and Mental Health Issues: What To Do When Life Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair.”
A panel discussion will provide a statewide focal point aimed at improving policies and programs for youths with mental health disorders who are in contact with the Juvenile Justice system. Information will be exchanged on research which indicates that a vast majority of youth not only have diagnosable mental health disorders, but more than half meet criteria for co-occurring substance use disorders. The discussion will also explore the complex needs of justice-involved youths and the need to broaden the scope necessary to address behavioral health disorders, encompassing mental illness, substance use and co-occurring disorders.
Panelist for the discussion will include: Texas State Senator John Whitmire; Texas State Representative Garnet Coleman; 315th Judicial District Court of Harris County Judge Mike Schneider; Texas Appleseed Foundation Director Deborah Fowler; Dr. Terry S. Smith, chief juvenile probation officer, Dallas County; Dr. Diana Quintana, deputy director of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department and moderator Judge Yvonne M. Williams, justice of the peace, Precinct 1, Travis County.
Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.