State leaders announce a new focus for juvenile justice

Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)


By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – One criticism of prisons is that they are best at turning criminals into even worse criminals. Now a state juvenile justice initiative is trying to break that cycle by emphasizing small, regional, community-based sites.

“I served five years in three different state youth prisons, most of them very far from my family,” Diasee Scott told a Chicago news conference Friday. “When I got out, I was fortunate to become a participant in (the Department of Juvenile Justice’s) Alternative to Youth Incarceration that provides wraparound service yp young people like me at home in our communities.”

“Warehousing children in these facilities has serious and lifelong negative consequences,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “Recidivism rates are uniformly higher, and the cost to taxpayers exceeds those of community-based approaches that have better outcomes.

“It’s simply a poor return on our investment.”

The governor’s calling this the 21st Century Illinois Transformation Model.

Dave Dahl can be reached at


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