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 Countyâ€™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 â€˜Restorative Justice Hubsâ€™ 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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