Report: Better Case Management Key to Juvenile Reforms

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 14, 2011 | Go to article overview

Report: Better Case Management Key to Juvenile Reforms


Byline: Kerry Lester klester@dailyherald.com

Leaders in the Illinois Juvenile Justice community say a stronger case management systemwould better serve young offenders who remain incarcerated or who have been paroled.

The comments came in response to a report, released Tuesday and provided to Gov. Pat Quinn and state lawmakers, that dubbed the state's youth prison system ineffective and inefficient.

"There's great advantage in screening and assessment for kids' needs," Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission Director George Timberlake said. "That understanding, that diagnosis, developed as soon as the kid arrives, means there's a continuity between what happens inside and outside."

The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission report, required by a 2009 state law, was based on an examination of the system, including observations of nearly 240 prisoner review board hearings which had never before been open to public review. The commission also analyzed the files of 386 young people whose parole was revoked in 2009 and 2010.

The report made across-the-board recommendations, claiming changes could save nearly $80,000 per imprisoned youth annually without sacrificing public safety.

One component included calls for better screening, case planning and tracking measures of young offenders.

Right now, according to the report, the state's Department of Juvenile Justice has "no practicable case management system."The report says information on youth educational history, assessment, treatment or release planning is largely inaccessible and kept in an antiquated format. …

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