Starting clean: Justice and Juvenile Crime, news forum, April 17



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Say a kid gets picked up, but never charged. What happens?

That event sits on their police record forever.

Of if they committed a crime, their record becomes a stain that can negate the chances of starting anew years later.

From the Mayor to most criminal justice experts and advocates, giving youths and adults the chance to expunge their records is a high priority today in Chicago.

Why?

We’ll talk about that at our news forum on Violence and Criminal Justice: What Needs Fixing?

How the courts, detention, prison, and probation systems impact individuals and communities snared by violence.

Who should come: Journalists and journalism students, who want to dig deeper into the issue of violence in Chicago.

Why: After a brief panel discussion, with legal, mental health and prison experts, you will get “speed-dating” interview time to report stories.

When: 10 to noon Thursday, April 17

Where: Columbia College Chicago 1104 S. Wabash Ave., 8th Floor

Who: This a joint effort of the Community Media Workshop and Strengthening Chicago’s Youth, an effort of Lurie Children’s Hospital.

And what makes clearing a youth’s record so important?

Here’s a  2013 WBEZ story that explains why (this is only a portion)

Here’s an interesting statistic: About 40 percent of all youth arrested in Cook County never get sent to court. The kid was never charged, never stood before a judge –Kaba wants automatic expungement of those kind of arrests as soon as young people turn 18.

“We’re willing to accept that if you had a conviction then you’d have to go through the regular process of doing an expungement. Fine. But for a mere arrest? Get rid of that.”

Meanwhile, you’d think there’d be an awful lot of people lined up to expunge their juvenile records.

But, as it turns out, the juvenile expungement numbers around here are grim.

In 2011, almost 17,000 juveniles got arrested in Cook County. Just about enough to fill the Allstate arena in Rosemont. And because some kids get arrested multiple times, the number of arrests was more like 30,000.

So!  Thirty thousand juvenile arrests.  Guess how many juvenile expungements ? Wrong. Guess again. No. The actual number?  67.

2012 wasn’t much better: Over 25,000 juvenile arrests in Cook County . The number of juvenile expungements last year? 70.

Why so few?

Cost is part of it. And the hassle of gathering records. But also, people who follow this tell us, the process is so complicated, so daunting — people start, but never make it to the finish line.

Kaba’s group and others drafted legislation about a year ago to make it easier for a young person to expunge his record if he’s been arrested, but hasn’t been convicted. 

The chief opponent was the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. The bill died in a Senate committee last spring.

WBEZ wanted to ask the State’s Attorney’s office about their views on juvenile expungement. But a spokesman declined, saying that if a specific expungement proposal makes its way through the legislature in the future, they’d reconsider talking with us.

here's  the link to the story:
http://www.wbez.org/news/why-it-so-hard-expunge-juvenile-records-cook-county-105257

And here's a DNAinfo story about a unique effort here to help youths clear their 
records. The link to the site follows:
http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140115/downtown/expungeio-app-helps-teens-move-past-their-juvenile-arrests
http://www.expunge.io/

Questions, thoughts about our news forum?

Talk to me – digame, Steve Franklin

Steve@chicagoistgheworld.org, office 312 369 6400

 



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