Juvenile arrests and the number of delinquency referrals continued to decline in Kenosha County in 2016.
These trends are among the highlights of the 12th Annual Youth Justice Report that Kenosha County Human Services officials unveiled in a presentation today in Kenosha County Circuit Judge Jason Rossell’s courtroom.
“Kenosha County commits many resources to improve the lives of youth and their families involved in the Juvenile Justice System due to delinquency,” said Ron Rogers, director of the Kenosha County Division of Children and Family Services. “These community-based interventions work.
“Eight out of 10 youth under delinquency supervision in Kenosha County do not receive new delinquency adjudications while under supervision. This success rate is due to the excellent work and partnership of DCFS social workers and our contracted providers of community services.”
Since 2005, the report has provided the community and its stakeholders with information on local trends in the juvenile justice system and progress toward meeting improvement goals. The data reflected in the report include Juvenile Court Intake Services and the Division of Children and Family Services-Court Services Unit.
Both agencies work with youth who are delinquent or habitually truant from school. Juvenile Court Intake Services provides informal supervision and diverts youth from the court process, while the Division of Children and Family Services provides formal supervision of youth who have been found delinquent or truant by the court.
The Youth Justice Report analyzes annual indicators such as juvenile arrests, secure detention admissions and program referrals. Cases closed in a given year are examined to determine non-recidivism rates, community services work hours completed, restitution collected and improvement in risk and protective factors.
This year’s report notes a decline in juvenile arrests – the continuation of a trend that has continued for several years. In 2016, 1,411 juvenile arrests were made in Kenosha County, a 3 percent decline from the prior year’s total. Since 2012, the total number of arrests has dropped by 43 percent.
“The decline in juvenile arrests in Kenosha County is due in part to our success in providing community-based interventions that help reduce juvenile crime,” Rogers said. “Our Gang Diversion Programs and our Summer Youth Employment Program have shown great success in teaching youth valuable skills and diverting youth from crime. When you then add our ability to successfully intervene in the lives of delinquent youth so they do not reoffend, arrest rates can decline.”
The largest category of arrests was “Society,” which includes offenses such as disorderly conduct, curfew/loitering and liquor law violations.
The report also reflects the continuation of a steady decline in the number of delinquency referrals to Juvenile Court Intake Services. Last year’s total of 414 referrals was a 14 percent reduction from the year prior and a 33 percent decrease from 2012’s total.
Juvenile Court Intake Services referrals for habitual truancy have continued to rise during that time period. One hundred eighty-eight such referrals were made in 2016, a 36 percent increase from the year prior and a 74 percent increase from the total five years ago.
In the Division of Children and Family Services, delinquency referrals decreased to 142 last year, a reduction of 6 percent from the prior year and 35 percent from 2012’s total. DCFS truancy referrals increased by 63 percent from 2015 to 2016, to 98 – a 92 percent increase since 2012.
The number of youths placed in secure detention increased by just over 5 percent from the year prior, to 117. Still, that is a 26 percent reduction from the total admitted five years ago. The average length of stay decreased by 26 percent in 2016, to 10.9 days.
Other statistical highlights from the report:
Felonies comprised 24 percent (63) of the total offenses committed by delinquent youth in 2016. That’s up from 20 percent in 2015 and 12 percent in 2014.
The number of delinquent youth placed in treatment foster care – in which parents receive a higher level of training to work with youth who require more intensive care – has declined by 62 percent since 2013, to six placements in 2016.
Group home placements for delinquent youth continued a three-year climb, with 20 placements in 2016.
Residential care center placements for youth who generally have significant mental health treatment needs decreased to five last year, the lowest number since this report began in 2005.
Placements in Alternatives to Corrections through Education, a program that provides direct services in a secure facility in Racine County remained fairly stable at 16.
The number of youth placed in Corrections increased by one in 2016, to six. The five-year average is seven placements per year.
The report also details the efforts of Kenosha County’s Gang Diversion and Summer Youth Employment programs, both of which have been credited for recent years’ decreases in arrests, referrals and placements.
The full report is available at http://www.kenoshacounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/7158.