Source: (2012) Cook County Juvenile Justice Task Force.

This paper presents a vision for community-based, trauma-informed, restorative solutions to youth crime and conflict in Cook County. It was written for young Chicagoans across the county who deserve a better system, as well as their parents, families, and communities. It was also written for other key stakeholders who wish to support new approaches to neighborhood safety, for the judges, youth workers, executive directors, block club members, police officers and family leaders who dedicate their lives to making our communities more peaceful for all. We have divided the paper into two sections: 1) Reinvesting Our Efforts, and 2) Building a New Paradigm. In the first section we outline some of the main limitations of Cook County’s current juvenile justice system and introduce our guiding thoughts on how the juvenile justice system can better support young people, while making our communities safer places to live. In this section we call for a one-to-one replacement of the dollars that are saved by reducing the population of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (CCJTDC), whereby those funds are reinvested in the communities with the greatest need for supportive services. In the next section, we lay out a concrete proposal for alternatives to our present approach of centralized juvenile detention, an approach that is totally divorced from family and community supports. We propose the creation of ‘Restorative Justice Hubs’ across Cook County, community centers that can holistically address the needs of young people who perpetrate crimes, while also supporting community residents and victims of crime. Crucially, these hubs will serve as catalysts for community healing around the intergenerational cycles of individual and systemic traumas that all too often shape family and community life. (excerpt)

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