Sunday’s Children & the Law News Roundup

Timberlake: For a new judge, different outlook on juvenile court, Southtown Star, Illinois

Fortunately, that lack of options has changed. The counties in my circuit were one of the four pilot areas for a new state program, Redeploy Illinois, in exchange for our promise to send 25 percent fewer young people to the prison system.

Redeploy Illinois provided funds we needed to reach our youth before their behaviors worsened. The local stakeholders — judges, prosecutors, public defenders, law enforcement and other community leaders — work together on the program.

Redeploy Illinois has made it possible to assess and screen all youths referred by the court or probation officers. Once we know what services are appropriate to meet each youth’s needs, they attend therapy sessions, sometimes in their homes, or are sent to residential mental health or substance abuse treatment if necessary.

Statewide, the Redeploy Illinois counties have reduced youth prison commitments by 51 percent — more than doubling the target and allowing the state to avert more than $40 million in potential incarceration costs.

New Report: Minors in ‘Solitary’ Hallucinate, Harm Themselves, Juvenile Justice Exchange

A new report on solitary confinement of minors includes harrowing descriptions of the psychological and physical impact ‘solitary’ has on young people, as well as surprising revelations about why some authorities resort to isolating juveniles.