St. Clair County

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St. Clair County

The St. Clair County Advisory Board continues to focus on reducing DMC among its targeted population. The Advisory Board, through the incorporation of community stakeholders, school officials, and law enforcement officials, has evolved into the Juvenile Justice Committee of the St. Clair County Youth Coalition. The committee meets bi-monthly to address a wide range of issues affecting juvenile delinquency.

St. Clair County also continues to focus on juvenile arrest warrants. The number of warrants has dropped dramatically over the past five years. St. Clair County also monitors total quarterly admissions. The primary demographic area served by the statefunded Community Youth Services (CYS) program comprises the greater East St. Louis area. This area includes Alorton, Brooklyn, Centreville, East St. Louis, Fairmont City, Cahokia, and Washington Park. Staff is also organizing in the communities of Belleville, Swansea, Shiloh, Fairview Heights, and O'Fallon.

As a result of DMC efforts, partnerships were formed between the Juvenile Justice Committee and the Regional Office of Education to address chronically truant youth in the target areas of Cahokia and East St. Louis. A partnership was also formed with the CYS Program and the Cahokia School District to address Juvenile Delinquency in those target areas. Accomplishments of this partnership include:

  • Compilation of detention/arrest data
  • Breakdown of type of offense for target area
  • Compilation and review of warrant/probations for target area
  • Two presentations to community groups in target area

Program outcomes in the DMC process include:

  • Formed partnership with the Cahokia School District
  • Gathered input from youth focus groups
  • Held job readiness training classes for 25 youth
  • Expanded youth prevention program partnership with the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House
  • Established partnership with the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

Program Success Stories

Juveniles of color are more likely than their white counterparts to be arrested, referred to juvenile court rather than to diversion programs, charged, waived to adult court, detained pre-trial and locked up at disposition. There is ample documentation of Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) and a substantial body of knowledge about ways to reduce and even eliminate DMC.

Through the development of a youth contact database, the St. Clair County DMC program provided employment resources to assist youth in applying and interviewing for summer employment opportunities.

Resources for completion of a GED program were provided to youth in the foster care system and a program plan was developed to assist the youth with moving forward with post secondary educational opportunities once his GED is attained.

A Community Conversation Panel Discussion was held and attended by 50 youth. Panelists consisted of the East St. Louis Police Chief, Juvenile Court System Judge, and the DMC Program Coordinator, who shared information and answered questions from the youth.

As an affiliate of the St. Clair County Youth Coalition, the condensed service directory was updated to be provided to parents of chronically truant youth and the faith-based community.

The St. Clair County program is proposing a new legal strategy that would compel juvenile courts to end disproportionate minority contact by adopting promising practices. The approach attempts to demonstrate known alternatives that work better and are less expensive than incarceration. The annual cost of detention can average around $50,000 per youth, while most community-based programs cost less than one-fourth that amount. The St. Clair program proposes to provide alternative youth peer sentencing to first-time juvenile offenders and to provide a constructive means of instilling respect and responsibility for self and others. The recidivism rate for Youth Court participants is 9 percent for those who successfully completed the Youth Court Diversion Program (as opposed to 30 percent for those who were not referred to Youth Court).

Youth Court programs across the nation experience immediate returns on investment. Even in programs with only two years of operation, more than 80 percent of the youth offenders have completed their sentences successfully. In 30 percent of the participating programs, one in five youth offenders returns to the program as a volunteer.

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