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Juvie Court Crowded in South Suburbs

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The Cook County State’s attorney is looking to local police to ease the burden on the juvenile court system in Chicago’s South Suburbs.

Kids who are arrested in the South Suburbs and referred to court are now waiting 3 months before their first hearing. Kathy Bankhead is the chief of the juvenile justice bureau for the Cook County State’s attorney. She says the standard should be around three weeks, not months. She says the delay decreases the importance of the proceeding in the child’s mind.

BANKHEAD: When kids misbehave, that misbehavior needs to be dealt with immediately. If you think about it in terms of your own kid with there in the store they do something, you say, when I get home we’re gonna, by the time you get you get home they don’t even remember, okay what am I being in, what am I? You have to remind them what they’re in trouble for.

To cut down on the court backlog, the State’s attorney’s office is asking local police departments in the South Suburbs to implement programs to divert first-time, young offenders away from the court system. One idea is for departments to get offenders together with victims so the offenders can see how their actions play out. That would ease the pressure on the courts but shift a new burden to local governments.

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