Some programs and organizations in the state of Illinois have been focusing on ways to prevent juvenile crime rather than simply promoting punishment once the deed is done.
According to the Children’s Home and Aid delinquency supervisor, those who do commit criminal offenses during their teenage years typically come from dysfunctional families. If the family situation is unchanged when juveniles are released from detention, it is likely that they will revert to the same patterns and criminal offenses when no special action is taken.
However, due to a $400,000 grant by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, Children’s Home and Aid will be able to provide a three-year program that will assist roughly 75 youths for reintegration services after they leave detention centers. If the program is successful, it is estimated that the number of youths who return to detention centers will decrease by 25 percent.
To help keep juveniles from returning to the same behaviors prior to detention, the program will provide a therapist and case manager for each juvenile. These folks will set goals, provide vocational training, and encourage teens to receive a high school diploma or GED in order to help juveniles focus on avoiding a life of crime. Counseling, art therapy, anger management and drug treatment also will be available for those who need it.
According to a pastor from an area church who started a similar program, these types of programs provide teens with an opportunity and the tools they need to start anew if they complete mentoring and educational sessions.
The newly approved program is similar to one that was approved in 2004 and provided life skills education, mental health treatment, family therapy and substance abuse treatment to youths who were at risk of committing crimes after detention. After treatment, more than 300 juveniles did not return to a detention center.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a juvenile crime, you may want to consider working with an attorney in order to make sure that your rights remain protected and that you are aware of all of your options when facing juvenile charges.
Source: Suburban Journals, “Program aims to curb Metro East youth from repeating crimes,” Sarah Baraba, Aug. 16, 2012