SUPPORT FOR APPROPRIATE JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITIES
SEPTEMBER 1989; EDITS JUNE 2011
The League of Women Voters of Janesville believes the Rock County Youth Home is an appropriate non-secure facility for temporarily housing juveniles who need protective services or who are being monitored by the probation department. However, the Home should also provide a secured area for children who might need tighter security, such as runaways or other particularly troubled children.
The Rock County Jail appears to meet the present minimum requirements for secure detention established by the State of Wisconsin, including adequate supervision. However, LWV-Janesville believes that counseling and educational services need to be much improved if these children in trouble are to be set on the road to productive citizenship. We would strongly recommend a visit by a counselor within 24 hours of detention and visits at regular intervals thereafter. We also strongly recommend that all detained juveniles receive continuous daily instructions in the basics: reading, writing, and mathematics.
LWV-Janesville supports the concept of programs such as In-Home and adolescent Day Services, which keep juveniles in the community for treatment and also work with their families.
LWV-Janesville would also support a plan to encourage judges, advisory committee members and professionals dealing with juveniles to make a complete tour of each local juvenile detention facility on a yearly basis. They should also consider visiting the state facilities serving Rock County juveniles sometime within the first year after taking office or a position involved with the juvenile detention system in Rock County.
Education: We suggest a certified teacher be assigned permanently to serve both facilities as instructor and coordinator of volunteer tutors. Volunteer tutors might be recruited from the Jail Chaplaincy or other service organizations. It might be best to use individualized program materials (maybe GED equivalent) for short stay detentions rather than waiting to coordinate with school districts regarding their lesson plans.
Juvenile Facility Tours: LWV-Janesville should prepare a survey inquiring about the frequency of facility tours by judges, advisory committee members, and professional involved with the juvenile detention system in Rock County.
Edit. (June 2011) based on changes implemented since the adoption of the 1989 position.)
We recognize that the Detention Center is one of several aspects of the total Juvenile Justice System.
We believe the County should provide a temporary housing facility (Detention Center) for youth who need protective services or who are a threat to the safety of the community.
The facility should meet minimum state requirements and provide treatment and educational services on a timely basis.
We support efforts, including on-site tours, to keep officials making decisions about youth in the Juvenile Justice System in touch with current operations and conditions.
Educational plans for youth at the Center should be coordinated with the school systems. Use of volunteer tutors is suggested.
Community based treatment and services should be maximized.