…Resolutions are built by consensus, said Lori Brown, coordinator of the
Children’s Home Models for Change Initiative. “It doesn’t mean
everybody has to love the outcome, it does mean everybody has to live
with the outcome and agree not to sabotage it.”
Wetzel, of the Police Department’s juvenile division, has referred
about five young offenders for community peace conferences, rather than
the juvenile court system, since June. The coalition spearheading peace
conference mediations expects the Police Department to refer a lot more
cases once more volunteers are trained.
…Community peace conferences are part of an overall goal to reduce the
number of juveniles – particularly minority juveniles – arrested,
detained, on probation or incarcerated. They also represent a
collaboration between the Police Department, the local Covenant with
Black America, Peoria County’s Juvenile Justice Council and the
Children’s Home, which is in the last year of a four-year $450,000 grant
from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for
…Referrals for community peace conferences will be youths from 10 to 17
years old who have committed nonviolent low-level offenses including
theft, retail theft, criminal damage to property, or simple assault. If
the offender does not complete the agreed-upon solution, the case is
referred back to the Police Department, which has the discretion to
refer it to the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s Office.
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