Thursday, September 16, 2021


Hundreds of wealthy Americans back the Biden Build Back Better Act; Roger Stone is served with a warrant on live radio; and family caregivers are in need of assistance.


Virginia gubernatorial candidates debate; former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann indicted for lying to FBI; lawmakers set to question oil industry over climate disinformation; and FDA scientists express skepticism over booster shots.


Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

Groups Urge Training, Mentoring Programs Over Youth Incarceration


Monday, June 21, 2021   

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Juvenile-justice reform groups say helping young people with work and life-skills training reduces recidivism more effectively than incarceration, and they cite an Illinois program as an example.

Curt's Café, with locations in Evanston and Highland Park, also connects youth living in at-risk situations with other support services, and has received a grant to expand its training curriculum.

Jennifer Vollen-Katz, executive director of the John Howard Association of Illinois, a prison watchdog group, said incarceration is the wrong way to change kids' or teens' behavior, and hopes to see more funding for alternatives like Curt's Café.

"We can't just give them skills for employment if you're not addressing unmet mental-health needs, or the fact that they don't have money for transportation to get to and from a job," Vollen-Katz contended.

She pointed out holistic approaches are also opportunities to address inequality and racism. Data show far more Black, brown and Indigenous young people are locked up than their white peers. In Illinois, Black youths are ten times more likely to be incarcerated.

Vollen-Katz added when a young person's brain is developing, there's a lot of capacity for change and rehabilitation.

"Punishment without providing people the kind of assistance they need to grow and develop differently from whatever way was leading them to get into trouble, is not the most effective way to help them," Vollen-Katz argued. "And it's also not the most humane."

Luis Klein, director of policy and strategic partnerships for the Juvenile Justice Initiative, said employment and housing are the two biggest areas research has shown are key for reducing recidivism.

"Any program making sure that the returning citizens, formerly incarcerated folks, have proper training, have job skills that are useful in this economy, is really important to keeping folks from returning to prison," Klein stressed.

Klein also urged more funding for programs like Curt's Café. He noted such alternatives cost far less than incarceration, and are more successful at keeping kids out of the prison system.

In Illinois, it can cost more than $180,000 a year to incarcerate one juvenile.

Disclosure: Juvenile Justice Initiative contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Oregon's Hispanic population grew 30% from 2010 to 2020. (Gstudio/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Hispanic Heritage Month began this week, and will be celebrated through Oct. 15. Oregon has a rapidly growing Hispanic population…

Social Issues

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- As the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restricting abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for …

Social Issues

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Social Security, the program credited with lifting 15 million older residents in Wyoming and across the U.S. out of poverty…

Arkansas' rental-assistance program has distributed funds to more than 3,200 households in the state. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas has made some changes to its state rent relief program to make it easier to distribute assistance to residents…


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The historic clean-energy bill signed into Illinois law yesterday includes measures from closing coal and natural gas plants by 2…

Indiana ranks 44th out of 50 states for bankruptcy. (Andriy Blokhin/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

INDIANAPOLIS -- A new coalition is forming to push back against predatory lending and urge state lawmakers to take action to protect consumers…

Social Issues

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- More than 200 high earners have written a letter urging Congress to raise taxes to help support social safety-net programs that …

Health and Wellness

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Limiting women's access to abortion and other reproductive health care can have a devastating impact on state economies. According …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021