The Illinois State Bar Association is offering a free booklet on its website to help citizens learn how to reduce juvenile delinquency in their community and provide alternatives to youth imprisonment.
Called “Juvenile Justice in Illinois,” the booklet includes a description of the need, a summary of programs already in place, and action steps to implement a local program.
Compiled by ISBA President Mark D. Hassakis, of Mt. Vernon, the booklet is an outgrowth of the focus during his presidency to draw attention to the issue of juvenile justice and help foster change.
“What would the juvenile justice system look like if we knew our sons, daughters and grandchildren would go through it?” he has asked. “We must all get involved if changes are to be made.”
Hassakis notes that the state spends significant funds to incarcerate youth but does little to rehabilitate them. “The solution is to develop a customized approach for each youth who has either entered the juvenile justice system or is incarcerated in it,” he states.
One program that is making a difference, he continues, is Redeploy Illinois, which in its first three years, diverted 382 youth from state juvenile prisons. Some 40 counties have also started Juvenile Justice Councils. A fact sheet in the booklet lists action steps to develop a council that can lead to improved juvenile delinquency prevention measures.
The ISBA, with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides education and services to its lawyer-members and information to the public. For further information, visit www.isba.org.