PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cook County Circuit Court to open all female evening reporting center

Released On 07/19/2001

Cook County Chief Judge Donald P. O'Connell has announced the court will open an evening reporting center exclusively dedicated to female minor offenders in juvenile court. The new evening reporting center will be located on Chicago's Near West Side. The female evening reporting center is the first such center in the state of Illinois and will open on October 1, 2001. Funding for the new evening reporting center is provided by an unprecedented $250,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services in conjunction with the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission.

Chief Judge O'Connell said, "The court is strongly committed to providing developmentally appropriate and culturally competent programs and services to the growing number of female offenders coming into the juvenile justice system. For the five-year period from 1996 to 2000, female minors placed on probation increased by 40% in Cook County compared to the prior five-year period of 1991 to 1995. The addition of an all female evening reporting center staffed exclusively by female professionals will enhance the court's existing gender responsive programs, which include the St. Malachy's Shelter for girls and the Specialized Female Offender Unit of the Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department."

A part of the court's award winning continuum of juvenile detention alternatives, evening reporting centers are community-based alternatives to detention for minors that operate through partnerships between community-based social service providers and the court. Under the program, a judge can order a nonviolent juvenile offender awaiting disposition on a warrant or probation violation to report to an evening reporting center as an alternative to detention in the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

For three to four weeks, minors are required to report to the centers daily between 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., the period during which the incidence of delinquent activity is most likely to occur. At the centers, a professional staff consisting of an education specialist, a recreation specialist and three group workers provide programs, activities and workshops to a maximum of 25 minors.

Included among the topics covered by group activities at the centers are alcohol and drug abuse, conflict resolution, life skills development, health and hygiene education, AIDS prevention, parenting skills and teenage pregnancy.

Since the inception of the evening reporting center program in 1995, the court has opened six evening reporting centers serving primarily male minor offenders. The program has successfully diverted more than 7,100 minors from the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, with 93 percent of program participants remaining in compliance with the terms of their probation. Utilization of the evening reporting centers has resulted in the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center maintaining a population below its rated capacity for the entire year 2000 for the first time in ten years.

The all female evening reporting center will serve a maximum of 15 minor offenders at one time. Programming at the center will be developed by the Specialized Female Offender Unit of the Juvenile Probation and Court Services Department.

Chief Judge O'Connell commended Juvenile Justice Division Presiding Judge Curtis Heaston, Juvenile Probation and Court Services Director Michael J. Rohan and the juvenile probation staff for their successful implementation of the evening reporting center program.

 

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