What Happens When They Come Home?

Violence and Criminal Justice: What Needs Fixing? 

When: 10 am to noon Thursday, April 17
Where: Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., 8th Floor
A joint-program for journalists and neighborhood groups of the Community Media Workshop and Strengthening Chicago’s Youth, an effort of Lurie Children’s Hospital.

 By Stephen Franklin

Community Media Workship, steve@chicagoistheworld.org, 312 369 6400

In our financally troubled state, the juvenile detention center in St. Charles is a costly fix for juvenile crime.

source: WBEZ

source: WBEZ

It costs Illinois yearly about $109,000 for each youngster, according to the John Howard Association, a prison monitoring and criminal justice advocacy group.

What does Illinois get for this money?

Not what you might hope, according to a report from the prison monitoring organization.

This is what they said about the juvenile detention center last fall:

“Current understaffing at St. Charles not only undermines IDJJ’s rehabilitative mission for youth in its care, but it also potentially violates youths’ constitutional right to receive an education and adequate mental health treatment. Further, understaffing diminishes the institution’s ability to ensure a physically safe environment for youth, and currently youth are spending more time in their cells because appropriate supervision is not available. For these reasons, JHA recommends that IDJJ should not only address the staffing shortages, but also examine its current incarcerated population, and ensure that it is doing everything  in its power to return kids safely, successfully, and expeditiously to their communities.”

We’ve talked about the ACLU’s lawsuit against the state’s juvenile detention facilities, and the state’s recent agreement to fix the problems. How and when the solutions will be carried out is unclear.

But what about the youths passing through facilities today like St. Charles?

What happens when they come home, and face  the problems that sent them spiralling into trouble?

This is one of the issues we’ll be examining on April 17th at a forum on criminal justice and youth violence.

We’ll be talking about how the courts, detention, prison, and probation systems impact individuals and communities snared by violence.

A panel discussion by legal, mental health, and prison experts will be followed by interviews with a dozen community groups and organizations.
Speakers include:

  • Elizabeth Clarke, Juvenile Justice Initiative
  • Julie Biehl, Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern Law School
  • Elena Quintana, Adler School of Professional Psychology
  • Charles Perry, Westside Health Authority
  • Tony Lowery, Safer Foundation
  • Father David Kelly, Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation

This a joint effort of the Community Media Workshop and Strengthening Chicago’s Youth, an effort of Lurie Children’s Hospital. http://www.scy-chicago.org/

So join us.

Questions? Suggestions? Digame – talk to me.





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