Education, not jail, is solution for troubled youth

Education, not jail, is solution for troubled youth by Theresa Churchill

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Using detention to handle delinquency is so old school. At least that appeared to be the consensus of more than 150 people attending a public forum convened Wednesday at Eisenhower High School by the Macon County Juvenile Justice Council and the Illinois-based Juvenile Justice Initiative.

Genea Lawler, juvenile justice supervisor for Youth Advocate, said she and other attendees also decided that the disproportionate number of black juveniles arrested in Macon County – involved in 624 of 1,061 arrests in 2013 – is unacceptable. “We have to do something about it,” she said. Lawler added that night reporting for youths on probation and re-entry services for those released from detention are sorely needed. Her feedback came toward the end of the 3½-hour event, “Crossroads for Change: Build, Prevent, Restore,” attended by a number of social service providers, educators, county officials and others.

Speakers included Circuit Judge R.C. Bollinger, State’s Attorney Jay Scott, Public Defender Rodney Forbes and Judge George Timberlake, chairman of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission.