Associated Press– Chicago Watchdog: Juvenile Diversion Program Fails at Goals

U.S. News & World Report
BY JONAH NEWMAN OF Injustice Watch

CHICAGO (AP) — A decade-old program that was supposed to keep many juveniles out of the criminal justice system upon arrest has suffered from bad record-keeping, poor communication between city departments, and a lack of coherent and consistent goals, according to a report from the city’s Inspector General published Tuesday.

… A decade ago, an outside audit warned early fractures between the various partners — chiefly the Chicago Police Department and the city’s Department of Children and Youth Services (later merged into the Department of Family and Support Services) — were causing problems. A 2009 evaluation found fundamental disagreements between the approaches of the police officers and social service providers who were stationed at the JISC between a punitive approach and one informed by principles of “positive youth development.”

“It makes me sad to see that some of the issues we identified ten years ago are still hindering the effectiveness of the place,” said Jeffrey Butts, a criminologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, who conducted the earlier evaluation.

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