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Macon County is centrally located in Illinois. It has a population of 114,706. While roughly 20 percent of Macon County's juvenile population is youth of color, 70 percent of the county's securely detained population is from racial or ethnic minority groups. This level of disproportionate representation is clearly very high, yet given the decrease in Macon County's secure detention bed space, the actual numbers of youth in detention are relatively low. While the detention numbers are low and theoretically manageable (in terms of reduction), the question remains whether or not youth of color are being treated fairly and appropriately detained.
Macon County had made tremendous strides in terms of addressing DMC. Data is collected across the nine decision points and monthly DMC meetings occur. The recent activities of Macon County DMC can be cited as follows:
- Expanded the DMC Advisory Council to include other important juvenile justice stakeholders.
- Increased collaboration with traditional stakeholders in the community, especially the local school district.
- Began the important work of beginning to map the systems in the community that deal with juveniles and their families to help identify gaps in services and Began the important work of beginning to map the systems in the community that deal with juveniles and their families to help identify gaps in services and
- Identified and incorporated youth into the DMC Advisory Council meetings, and have began discussion about forming focus groups in the community with at risk youth and their families.
- Added a vision statement to guide the DMC process in Macon County
Data collection and Analysis
- Macon County has drastically improved its data collection and analysis procedures. Macon has established timelines for handing in quarterly data to the DMC Coordinator for the purpose of completing the DMC quarterly report.
- Macon County has identified members of the city's GIS department to help the DMC initiative. They will be able to assist the DMC efforts by helping create physical maps of the community, and be able to geographically pinpoint high crime areas, utilizing GIS technology. Macon County's GIS department is comparable to others in the area.
- Disaggregated pertinent DMC data.
- Compiled baseline juvenile criminal statistics for 2007 and 2008, and have separated pertinent school from other juvenile crime data.
- Macon County continues to work on and develop strategies to inform and involve youth, have formed a DMC night at one of the local neighborhood community centers.
- Have began to approach and address local neighborhood and faith based organizations, especially the one in the higher risk communities, to educate and inform them of DMC issues in the community.
- Working on the development of a new updated Macon County DMC pamphlet to hand out to people in the community to familiarize them with the DMC process and its intricacies.
- Continued to work with Peoria, Macon County's mentor site, to develop strategies for engaging community stakeholders, and finding ways to keep them at the table.
- Fostered preliminary discussions about forming a program resource matrix to share with various community groups and neighborhood organizations.
Juvenile Detention Alternatives
- Initiated the Pick-up-Hold and Notice to Appear procedure in Macon. This process allows the officer on the scene to update the contact information on a juvenile who has an outstanding warrant, establish a new court date, and release them to their parents. Past practices have been to arrest the juvenile, take them to detention, and go through that whole process.
- Macon County has restructured its Risk Assessment Instrument, and is currently conducting a pilot program to measure its effectiveness against the original screening tool. Preliminary results of its effectiveness have been gathered, but the pilot will be run for six months to obtain more accurate results.
- Continue to conduct an ongoing analysis of the utilization and the outcomes of Macon County's detention alternative programs.
- Began formal discussions concerning the possibilities of home detention in Macon County.
Continued Strategies to Address DMC Reduction
The Macon County State's Attorney's Office, in conjunction with the DMC initiative, expanded the Macon County Truancy Court to Stephen Decatur Middle School and MacArthur High School for the 2009-2010 school year. A total of eight students total are enrolled in the truancy program. Each student and their parents or guardians were required to appear in court, which was held at the school. Students were also required to complete court ordered sanctions, such as an OJJDP-approved evidence-based practice classes, essays, and letters of apologies. Students are also expected to keep in contact with the Truancy Court Case Manager in addition to their peer mentors.
Macon County continues to discuss a method of implementing and sustaining a phone call system to address Failure to Appear warrants. Macon County conducted a pilot phone call system utilizing interns to make the phone calls to the juveniles scheduled for court the following week. Macon County will continue to monitor the progress of this initiative.
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