Statement by director of juvenile probation

Released On 09/16/2014


Statement by Rose M. Golden, Director, Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department, Circuit Court of Cook County


The Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department administers a "Home Confinement with Electronic Monitoring" program (aka "EM") as part of its Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Continuum of strategies to track court-involved youths safely in the community to ensure their appearance in court.  EM has been available to juveniles as an alternative to incarceration since 1996.  With over 150,000 young people participating in the program since then (including 2,983 in 2013 and 1,756 in 2014 thus far), this program has about an 83% success rate of such youths returning to their next scheduled court appearances without having reoffended. 


Cook County's application of EM is consistent with well over 200 jurisdictions in 39 states, across the country, which pursue juvenile justice within the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) model developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  This model recognizes that the overuse of incarceration actually increases the risk to public safety and decreases the opportunity that incarcerated youth have for successful transition into adulthood.  The EM model used by the juvenile probation department differs from that of the adult system. Although there is a law enforcement component to the work performed by the juvenile probation department, the focus is on promoting and supporting long term behavior change. To that end, juvenile probation officers are not armed and do not exercise powers of arrest. 


Under the program, youths can be given the opportunity to meet court-ordered conditions of EM while remaining in their homes.  On an individualized basis, judges review a young person’s eligibility for EM and determine the terms for that level of supervision.  Judges differ in their instructions to probation officers relative to the circumstances which would require subsequent court appearances.  Currently the department maintains a capacity to service up to 300 youthful offenders on EM and has an average daily population of about 250 individuals in this program.  Juvenile probation officers provide supervision and support to these youths to successfully meet those conditions.  Once a youth is court-ordered into the program, they are released from the detention center and the EM device is attached on-site prior to the minor’s return home.  These devices are Global Positioning System (GPS) equipped and track the minor’s daily movements to within an average of 8 meters. With GPS, an individual can not only be tracked leaving the home but also in school and throughout the community.  The EM software logs individual movements that EM officers review at the beginning of each shift, before the officers proceed to other tasks.  The compliance of offenders in the program is periodically verified throughout the course of each officer’s shift as part of their duties.  When a minor is non-compliant, the probation officer refers the case to the Office of the State’s Attorney for a motion to revoke EM if the situation cannot be adequately addressed with the client.  Such motions are subject to review by the court, and non-compliant minors may be placed in secure custody.


The department regularly reviews the effectiveness of its programs.  In instances when young people reoffend while participating in community-based programs, the department reviews the individual circumstances to determine what adjustments to protocols, programming, and training may be necessary.  A preliminary review of probation department records indicates that Electronic Monitoring procedures were not followed. The officer responsible for monitoring Mr. Parks has been placed on temporary suspension pending investigation.  The department has also initiated a full audit of all Electronic Monitoring records to determine if this incident was an isolated occurrence or whether changes are required to ensure that juveniles under the supervision of the court are following conditions of release.




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