Holidays in the Juvenile Justice System

Holidays in the Juvenile Justice System by Judge George W. Timberlake, Ret.

To read this article on the Youth Today website, click here.

My wife, Mary Jo, and I were snowbound in Michigan while working on a building project so we lost Thanksgiving with our families in southern Illinois. Missing a holiday with the dozens of brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles got me to wondering – what is the holiday experience for a kid in detention?

I remember ordering some kids to serve detention during holidays as a “tough love” approach to behavioral change and, later, performing population reviews to release as many kids as possible. Because I wanted to know the current experience of judges, detention centers and the kids inside, I talked to Mike Abell, who is a veteran administrator of juvenile facilities and is an expert on juvenile incarceration. Mike is the director of court services in the Second Judicial Circuit of Illinois and was the first superintendent of the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center (FCJDC) when it opened in 2004. FCJDC serves 28 counties in the southern quarter of the state.