A prosecutor’s duty is first and foremost to seek justice. Justice can come in the form of aggressive prosecution of crime as well as aggressive advocacy for policies and resources that can prevent crime from happening in the first place. That means understanding that we cannot have criminal justice without social justice and we cannot have social justice without criminal justice. We cannot have healthy communities without safety and we cannot reduce crime without dealing with the root causes of crime. That’s why community leaders, youth advocates, law enforcement and others came together in 2011 to create the St. Clair County Juvenile Justice Council.
There are simply too many struggling youth that are stuck on a “felony factory line” because of structural disadvantages, ineffective use of resources and a lack of will to change the status quo. Focusing our efforts on juvenile justice through teen court, diversion programs like Redeploy Illinois, abuse and neglect cases, truancy prevention, easier access to drug treatment and mental health services, violence prevention, better coordination of existing programs and capacity, and a consistent long term vision will give us a chance to break that felony factory line and put more youth on a healthy, productive path. That helps reduce crime. That helps us all become a little safer.
As Chair of the St. Clair County Juvenile Justice Council, I welcome you to this site on behalf of the many organizations and individuals committed to serving our youth and making St. Clair County a safer, more just community for all of us.
St. Clair County, Illinois
Juvenile incarceration decreases the chances of high school graduation by 13 to 39% and increases the likelihood of adult incarceration by 23 to 41%. Aizer, Anna; Doyle, Jr., Joseph J.
The costs to society by high risk youth that end up in the criminal justice system is between 4 and 7 million dollars. Cohen, M. &Piquero, A. (2009)
Community based resources can drastically cut incarceration rates and invest in young lives while keeping the public safe. (JDAI/Annie Casey Foundation