Mark D. Hassakis
ISBA President Mark D. Hassakis made the first of several planned visits to Illinois juvenile detention centers last Friday, spending four hours touring the facility and talking to staff at IYC/Chicago on North Western Avenue. The visits are part of his commitment as president to focus attention on how to improve our juvenile justice system.
What he found at IYC was a relatively well-maintained center housing 79 juveniles. Average age? Fifteen. A small but dedicated staff eagerly searching for ways to educate and rehabilitate the youth, taking a positive approach to changing behaviors by implementing programs to foster change. Lack of funding means that key posts go unfilled, and each staff member frequently does the job of 3-4 workers.
Incarcerated youth have access to an array of programs and activities, including community baseball, a storytelling program with a Storycatchers Theater component and an animal humane education program that includes animal training.