Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center Implements Improvements, Meets State Requirements

Announcement, Press Release |

On Jan. 9, 2024, the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC), the agency with oversight over state courts and detention centers, announced that the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) has met or exceeded all state requirements for juvenile safety and well-being. 

Over the last year, the court and JTDC staff have implemented significant improvements at the JTDC.  The improvements include installing Millimeter Wave Body Scanners – a technology also used in airports – to check for weapons and other contraband through clothing, implementing policies to reduce room confinement, and training staff and working with mental health experts to develop individual plans to address behavioral challenges. 

AOIC Detention Manager Mark Bronke said in a Jan. 9 letter to Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans that “all actionable items indicated in the full site review report have been fully addressed. I would like to commend the administrative staff at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center for their prompt attention to all actionable items.” 

In addition, the JTDC is working collaboratively with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice to ensure that completion of all requirements will be reflected in their upcoming 2024 annual inspection report. 

In November, the JTDC also reached a “Memorandum of Agreement” with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), ensuring adequate general education for residents and providing special education teachers. This includes holding multidisciplinary meetings between CPS and JTDC staff to ensure residents are receiving appropriate services and accommodations as required by their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIPs) and 504 plans as needed.  

Since early 2023, JTDC residents have received enriched evening programming to promote cognitive and emotional growth. The programming includes yoga, art expression, curriculum-based gender-specific programming for male and female youth, as well as sessions focused on social and emotional wellness rooted in cognitive behavioral techniques. Selected providers who deliver these supportive services have capacity to serve youth while in custody and upon their return to community, ensuring continuity of care for sustained behavior change.  The new programming and other improvements are part of the Office of the Chief Judge’s commitment to provide trauma-informed care for youth that enhances their rehabilitation. 

“I would like to thank the JTDC staff for their work in further improving how the center cares for young people in our custody,” Chief Judge Evans said. “The JTDC will continue to make any necessary changes to enhance the well-being of the juveniles in our care.” 

In addition to the enhanced programming for JTDC, the Office of the Chief Judge and other stakeholders are working toward replacing the JTDC’s current, large physical structure with smaller, community-based facilities with specialized programs. 

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