In Reply: We appreciate Dr. Scott's thoughts and perspective. New interventions and changes are greatly needed in the juvenile justice system, and certainly we have come a long way from the time when clinicians believed that children do not have depression. It takes time for knowledge gained by mental health professionals from their clinical experiences and research findings to begin to inform the policies and actions of other professionals in other systems. The criminal justice system is no different in this regard.
We are heartened that Dr. Scott's experience with juveniles in the justice system has led her to view the nine-month mark as an important time in their incarceration. As we noted in our report, we selected this time based on our own clinical experience with this population and in order to allow for some degree of adjustment to the institutional environment. We had not considered the potential attachment issues that Dr. Scott raises, and such issues are interesting areas for future research.
As we try to effect changes in the juvenile justice system, it is increasingly important to expand the research base so that our clinical practices will be informed interventions that move these youths toward treatment and rehabilitation.