WBEZ | arrests at school http://www.wbez.org/tags/arrests-school Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How many Chicago juvenile arrests happen at school? http://www.wbez.org/news/how-many-chicago-juvenile-arrests-happen-school-105266 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F77853450" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS281_AP080423035213-CPD%20Paul%20Beaty-scr.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="File: Chicago police officer. (AP)" />Tens of thousands of young people get arrested each year in Chicago, and a lot of those arrests happen on the grounds of Chicago Public Schools. Of course, arrests at school happen all across the country.</p><p>The connection even has a name: some people say schools are a worrisome&nbsp;&lsquo;pipeline&rsquo; to the criminal justice system for many young people. In fact, last December, Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin held the first ever congressional hearings on the topic. One big worry for people who work with kids is the lingering records kids can get from those arrests.&nbsp;</p><p>I&rsquo;m visiting the home of Chicago Public School teacher Valerie Collins, and her son, daughter and I are crowded around a laptop on their dining room table. Valerie&rsquo;s kids are both public school&nbsp; graduates.&nbsp;I&rsquo;d heard about a YouTube video that showed a really nasty fight at Sullivan High School in Chicago, and asked them to watch it with me.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s got a million hits!,&rdquo; Collins is exclaiming. &ldquo;A million five hits. A million six!&rdquo;</p><p>They&rsquo;re listening to a television announcers account: &ldquo;We have video of this and first of all the video is graphic. Okay, it&rsquo;s literally two girls, 17 and 18 beating up a 14 year old. The 14 year old suffered a concussion.&rdquo;</p><p>I&rsquo;m here to talk to Collins about arrests at school. She&rsquo;s a math teacher at Simeon Career Academy, and before that she taught at both Lakeview and Phillips. I wanted to know if fights like the one we&rsquo;re watching are once-in-a-blue moon events.</p><p>Collins says serious fights like this happen at&nbsp;some, but not all, public schools maybe a couple times a year. Her daughter says it &ldquo;sucks,&rdquo; but while she was in school she became sort of desensitized to such fights, &ldquo;I wanna say it starts out as a joke because usually the way these, like fights, start off is off of something so ridiculous, so that it gets around the school and then everyone&rsquo;s just like, &lsquo;Oh, you know, there&rsquo;s gonna be a fight this period, you know. Let&rsquo;s all go out and see.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s worse with cell phones now,&rdquo; Collins adds, &ldquo;because with cell phones they text people that there&rsquo;s&nbsp;going&nbsp;to be a fight. That&rsquo;s what they do. They text that there&rsquo;s going to be a fight and then unless we find out about it, everybody knows&nbsp;except&nbsp;for the administration. That&rsquo;s what happens.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>There were about 4,600 arrests on public school grounds in 2011. That&rsquo;s about a fifth of the 25,000 arrests of kids 17 and under that year in Chicago.</p><p>But of those 4,600 arrests, only 14 percent were for the really serious stuff, the felonies, like robbery, burglary and fights with&nbsp;serious&nbsp;injuries -- like that one on the YouTube video.</p><p>Most arrests at school are for the still troubling, but&nbsp;less serious&nbsp;stuff --&nbsp; the misdemeanors.</p><p>&ldquo;So you&rsquo;ve got some smart-mouthed 15-year-old girl, who the teacher says to her, you know, Miss&nbsp;Thang, sit down.&rdquo;</p><p>Here&rsquo;s Herschella Conyers, clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;And she says to the teacher, &lsquo;You ain&rsquo;t talkin&rsquo; to me.&rsquo; And off they go!&nbsp; And the teacher says, &lsquo;I&rsquo;ll put you outta my room.&rsquo; And the student says, you know, &lsquo;I&rsquo;ll whip your ass.&rsquo; Uh --here come the police ! It&rsquo;s an ag assault. Now. Is the student absolutely wrong? Absolutely. Is there a better way to handle it? Yes.&rdquo;</p><p>Conyers says there was a time when conduct wasn&rsquo;t governed by the threat that the police would arrest. &ldquo;It was, you know, here comes the principal, or&nbsp;God forbid&nbsp;- they&rsquo;re about to call my mother.&nbsp; In those days it would be, could you&nbsp;just&nbsp;call the police and&nbsp;not&nbsp;my mother, you know?&rdquo;</p><p>There were over 3,500 misdemeanor arrests at Chicago public schools in 2011. The biggest category was for&nbsp;simple battery. That could be a punch, a shove, or a fight --seemingly minor confrontations that these days are taken seriously because they can lead to retaliations.&nbsp;</p><p>Next was&nbsp;disorderly conduct. Basically?&nbsp; Kids creating a ruckus. No serious injuries.</p><p>And the third biggest category? Drug abuse violations. These are usually arrests for small quantities of marijuana, because if it was a large quantity, or drugs like cocaine or heroin&mdash;that&nbsp;would be a felony.</p><p>That last category, in particular, bothers Conyers&#39; colleague down the hall, Craig Futterman &ndash; also a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago. National studies, he says, show that white kids use and sell drugs at a rate higher than black kids do. And, says Futterman, that&rsquo;s true in Chicago too.</p><p>&ldquo;Where the vast majority of kids who use and sell drugs in high school are white. The vast majority of kids who are arrested for drugs, and or,&nbsp;worse,&nbsp;go to juvenile jail or go to juvenile prison for drugs, are African-American,&rdquo; says Futterman.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s what the numbers say about arrests at Chicago Public Schools in 2011.&nbsp; Almost 75 percent -- three quarters -- of&nbsp; all arrests were of African-American students. At the same time, in that same year, African-American students comprised about 42 percent of the student body. In fact in 2011, African American students were arrested at a rate nearly four times that of whites or Latinos.</p><p>This kind of imbalance is causing a lot of consternation and was a big topic of conversation at Senator Durbin&rsquo;s national hearings last month.</p><p>Craig&nbsp; Futterman and Herschella Conyers think that lower level offenses, the misdemeanors basically, are better handled&nbsp;within&nbsp;the school. By counselors, social workers&nbsp;and&nbsp;restorative justice practices like peer juries and peace circles.</p><p>Kristina Menzel&nbsp;is an attorney who represents kids in juvenile court. She says that when principals request arrest, unfortunately it&rsquo;s sometimes a way for the school to pass a problem kid on to another system.</p><p>&ldquo;Now part of the problem is schools don&rsquo;t have money for these services, &ldquo; Menzel says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s not money out there for education like there should be. So the schools use the courts to get services for these kids that are problematic.&rdquo;</p><p>There has to be a better way to deal with this, she says, &ldquo;Since once they&rsquo;re brought in here, they&rsquo;re more likely to re-offend. And if they go to the Department of Juvenile Justice, their probability of re-offending goes up even higher.&rdquo;</p><p>As serious as getting arrested in school can be, what happens later can be even more serious. &nbsp;Follow our story of how a juvenile arrest record can mess up a young person&rsquo;s prospects for finding a job.</p><h2><strong>Arrests on CPS property by age</strong></h2><p><img src="https://docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/oimg?key=0AmeeIak9d5GydFlXbHJoVk81U1l5ZUhwa05MMHJnS3c&amp;oid=4&amp;zx=kg6y2mrop0ki" style="height: 186px; width: 620px;" title="Source: Chicago Police Department. Final column indicates total juvenile arrests on CPS property." /></p></p> Mon, 04 Feb 2013 05:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/how-many-chicago-juvenile-arrests-happen-school-105266 Why is it so hard to expunge juvenile records in Cook County? http://www.wbez.org/news/why-it-so-hard-expunge-juvenile-records-cook-county-105257 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Youth%20arrest.jpg" style="height: 423px; width: 620px;" title="File: Chicago police officer arresting a juvenile. (Carlos Javier Ortiz/WBEZ)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F77582864%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-n2ukB&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Thousands of kids get arrested each year at school in Chicago, and that might not be news to you.&nbsp;</p><p>But what might be surprising are what can be long-term consequences of juvenile arrests, even for comparatively minor offenses.&nbsp;</p><p>And how hard it can be for a young person to get out from under an early and damaging mistake.</p><p>We talked with one young woman about just such a story.</p><p>We&rsquo;re calling her Laura to protect her privacy.&nbsp; Laura&rsquo;s&nbsp; mom is a respiratory therapist, and a single parent. After she immigrated to this country she attended nursing school, but wasn&rsquo;t able to finish.&nbsp; When Laura was 12,&nbsp; she&rsquo;d help her mom study and she remembers that the material was &ldquo;really rigorous, like <em>really</em> tough.&rdquo;</p><p>At the same time it was super interesting to her. Laura says she knew <em>even then</em>, that her profession would involve working with people.&nbsp; And by the time she was 21, she&rsquo;d passed her board exams to become a registered nurse.&nbsp; Now she was just waiting for that envelope.</p><p>&ldquo;So we got the letter and we were just so excited. It was like. Okay. We got the license! We got the license!&rdquo; she recalls.&nbsp;</p><p>Turns out, it wasn&rsquo;t a license. It was a letter. From the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.</p><p>&ldquo;So I was reading the letter and basically it said that I was prohibited, like it was in bold &ndash; prohibited from practice. And I&rsquo;m like, whaaat?&rdquo;</p><p>The letter gave a date when Laura was in elementary school.&nbsp; A date when she&rsquo;d been charged with battery and bodily harm. Laura&rsquo;s thinking, <em>nooo</em>. But then she had a dim recollection from way back in 8<sup>th</sup> grade.</p><p>&ldquo;And basically we were fighting, police were around the corner,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;They came and picked us up. They didn&rsquo;t even put us in handcuffs, they just put us in the car, took us to the police station and had us cool off in different rooms. And we got our fingerprints done.&rdquo; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Laura had what&rsquo;s called an <em>informal </em>&ldquo;station adjustment,&rdquo; informal because there was no admission of guilt. The incident is resolved right there. It isn&rsquo;t referred to the state&rsquo;s attorney&rsquo;s office, the young person doesn&rsquo;t even <em>go</em> to court.</p><p>But what Laura didn&rsquo;t understand at the time, and her mother apparently didn&rsquo;t understand, is that when she left that station, Laura had an arrest record.</p><p>Eugene Roy, commander of youth investigations for the Chicago Police Department, isn&rsquo;t surprised: &ldquo;Absolutely.&nbsp; If somebody is arrested - there is an arrest record.&rdquo;</p><p>He says if the child is older than 10 years of age and the offense is either a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, that child is photographed and fingerprinted.</p><p>To get that license to become a registered nurse Laura had to first have fingerprints taken for a criminal background check. That&rsquo;s where things got sticky. The FBI notified the licensing board in Illinois of Laura&rsquo;s early arrest, something Laura says she &ldquo;just <em>never</em> expected to happen.&rdquo;</p><p>Laura was arrested in &lsquo;04. By 2010 the law in Illinois had changed. Since then juvenile records are no longer sent from the state police to the FBI, which is the agency that dispenses information for criminal background checks.</p><p>However.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s the problem:&nbsp; About ten years earlier a <em>different</em> state law permitted local police departments to send juvenile arrest data to the Illinois State Police&mdash;and <em>they</em> routinely forwarded it to the FBI.</p><p>In that decade, well over 170, 000 young people, 17 and under, were arrested in Cook County at least one time. It&rsquo;s anybody&rsquo;s guess how many of those records were forwarded to the Illinois State Police and ultimately the FBI.</p><p>Just like Laura, all those young people have been exposed to the possibility that a long-ago record could suddenly pop up in their lives. In a very negative way.</p><p>Mariame Kaba is the head of Project NIA, a grassroots group that works to reduce youth incarceration.&nbsp; &ldquo;I mean this to me is infuriating. And it&rsquo;s wrong. And it&rsquo;s unfair,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Kaba&rsquo;s a friend of Laura&rsquo;s, and is the person Laura called when she first got that letter and panicked. Together, they gathered certified court documents and statements to answer the licensing agency&rsquo;s questions about the circumstances of Laura&rsquo;s arrest.</p><p>They made their case and today Laura is working as a nurse at a hospital right here in Chicago.</p><p>Just to be sure this <em>doesn&rsquo;t happen again</em>, they also expunged-- or cleared -- Laura&rsquo;s record.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know many 20 year olds or 21 year olds who are going to be able to navigate this process on their own. The process is very difficult,&rdquo; Kaba says.</p><p>The first step is to retrieve the arrest history report from the agency that made the arrest in the first place, though she adds:&nbsp; &ldquo;But the police. Like, that&rsquo;s like a big entity. And many young people are <em>fearful </em>of the police.&rdquo;</p><p>And retrieving the arrest report is just the beginning.</p><p>Then you have to figure out the right court forms to fill out and file a petition to expunge.</p><p>Then get the forms to the Clerk of the Court&rsquo;s office.</p><p>Then wait. And maybe have a hearing.</p><p>Then if expungement is granted, pay $124 for every arrest. If you do it all correctly, the whole process can take two to three months.&nbsp;</p><p>It upsets Kaba that people have to go through this.</p><p>&ldquo;This tells you something about what we mean when we talk about the &ldquo;school to prison pipeline,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;The fact that schools are calling the police on young people, arresting them directly from school. Those young people go to the precinct. The precinct says: &lsquo;It&rsquo;s not a big deal.&rsquo; And that is the record that is following her now? What are we doing? We&rsquo;re actually making it much harder for those young people to be productive citizens later on.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>So what&rsquo;s the solution?</strong></p><p>Kaba says, &ldquo;The short version is, first and foremost, you should be able to expunge your record immediately. Okay, so you get arrested and nothing happens after that &ndash; you have a mere arrest? You should be able to expunge at any point in your juvenile career.&rdquo;</p><p>The way the law is now, even for an arrest with no conviction, a kid has to wait until 17 to try to clear a record.</p><p>If it&rsquo;s a more serious arrest where a judge declares a kid &ldquo;delinquent&rdquo; a young person usually has to wait until turning 21, or beyond, before a record can be expunged.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s an interesting statistic: About 40 percent of all youth arrested in Cook County <em>never get sent to court. </em>The kid was never charged, never stood before a judge &ndash;Kaba wants <em>automatic </em>expungement of those kind of arrests as soon as young people turn 18.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re willing to accept that if you had a conviction then you&rsquo;d have to go through the regular process of doing an expungement. Fine. But for a mere arrest? Get rid of that.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, you&rsquo;d think there&rsquo;d be an awful lot of people lined up to expunge their juvenile records.</p><p>But, as it turns out, the juvenile expungement numbers around here are <em>grim.</em></p><p>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 <em>arrests</em> was more like 30,000.</p><p>So!&nbsp; Thirty thousand juvenile arrests.&nbsp; Guess how many juvenile expungements ? Wrong. Guess again. No. The actual number?&nbsp; 67.</p><p>2012 wasn&rsquo;t much better: Over 25,000 juvenile arrests in Cook County . The number of juvenile expungements last year? 70.</p><p><strong>Why so few?</strong></p><p>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.</p><p>Kaba&rsquo;s group and others drafted legislation about a year ago to make it easier for a young person to expunge his record if he&rsquo;s been arrested, but hasn&rsquo;t been convicted.&nbsp;</p><p>The chief opponent was the office of Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez. The bill died in a Senate committee last spring.</p><p>WBEZ wanted to ask the State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;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&rsquo;d reconsider talking with us.</p><h2><strong>Cook County Juvenile Arrests and Expungements</strong></h2><p>&nbsp;<img src="https://docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/oimg?key=0AmeeIak9d5GydFlvUDQ1NW13dkVQQlRqQnZNZzd4eEE&amp;oid=3&amp;zx=wjbaphcraftx" style="height: 223px; width: 620px;" title="Sources: Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. See disclaimer below " /></p><p><em style="font-size: 11px;">Sources:&nbsp; Office of the State Appellate Defender and Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County*&nbsp;</em></p><p><em style="font-size: 11px;">Broken down by year, this chart shows the number of juvenile arrests in Cook County, the number of expungements (see definition <a href="http://www.state.il.us/defender/juv_exp_FAQ.html">here</a>) requested for juvenile records and the number of expungements granted.</em></p><p><span style="font-size:11px;"><em>Note 1: Expungements are recorded in the year that they are granted, not the year of the offense.<br />Note 2: As of Jan 1, 2010, 17 year olds in Illinois arrested for misdemeanor offenses are considered juveniles, not adults<br />Note 3: For an <a href="http://www.state.il.us/defender/juv_exp_qualify.html">explanation</a> of which juvenile records are eligible for expungement, see website of the Office of the State Appellate Defender.&nbsp;</em></span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em><strong>*</strong>General Data Dissemination Disclaimer by Clerk of Circuit Court:</em> <em>The information provided is a custom produced summary of the electronic court record that is maintained by the Clerk of the Circuit Court for internal and administrative purposes, from the paper documents with an understanding that the information is true and correct in as far as all aspects of the documents physically filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The official court records are held and maintained in the hard copy paper files in the courthouse or other official Clerk&rsquo;s repositories.&nbsp; The Clerk diligently strives to maintain accurate, complete and timely data in its electronic databases but shall not be liable for any consequential, exemplary, incidental or special damages arising from or in connection with data or information produced in response to the request for custom programming. However, because of the many variables involved in producing customized electronic data reports, users should not cite the provided information as an official or authoritative source and are advised to independently verify all information.&nbsp;&nbsp; All Users are advised to independently verify any information or data obtained with official court information reposing in the court files (i.e., pleadings, orders, half sheets, file jackets and the contents thereof, etc.). </em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 04 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-it-so-hard-expunge-juvenile-records-cook-county-105257