Friday, October 22, 2010

Let’s Empty the Warehouse and Fill the School House

By Valerie F. Leonard

The Chicago Tribune exposed the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center as a “warehouse for kids”.

 •    Between 1999 and 2003, over 10,000 youth were arrested and referred to Juvenile Court from the North Lawndale Community.

 •    There were 720 North Lawndale cases pending in Juvenile court, the largest number of cases from any community in Chicago.

 •    Alternatives to detention and the Juvenile Court are necessary

Community based projects focused on diverting court cases have potential to decrease youth involvement in the Juvenile Justice System.  With the right supports, we can reduce juvenile delinquency and dropout rates and increase the chances of at-risk youth becoming productive adults.

Valerie F. Leonard is a community development consultant, as well as the co-founder of the Lawndale Alliance.  Her consulting work and advocacy have provided a number of opportunities to explore youth development issues that impact communities like North Lawndale, Austin and East and West Garfield.

Valerie F. Leonard
Community Development Consultant
Phone:    773-521-3137
Fax:    773-522-1832
    (Staying In the Loop)

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