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updated: 4/26/2012 11:27 AM

Kane County profiting from housing DuPage juvenile offenders

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  • The Kane County Juvenile Justice Center, which houses youths from five counties, is on Route 38 in St. Charles.

      The Kane County Juvenile Justice Center, which houses youths from five counties, is on Route 38 in St. Charles.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Kane County's housing of DuPage County's juvenile offenders seems to be financially advantageous for both governments, as predicted by supporters of the transition.

Kane County officials Wednesday released its first report showing it housed between 10 and 13 DuPage juveniles on an average day in January and February. The bill for those two months totaled $72,820, or $110 per juvenile per day. That compares to the $357 per juvenile per day it would have cost DuPage County to house the youths.

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If the numbers remain consistent, Kane County would net an additional $400,000 in income from its juvenile justice center this fiscal year solely from the DuPage juveniles. For DuPage County, that total compares to the $630,000 in additional budget costs officials there would have incurred just to overcome state funding cuts and add more staff needed to keep its juvenile detention center open.

For Kane, the $400,000 officials now expect to receive from DuPage would roughly equal the income the facility earned all of last year from housing juveniles from DeKalb, Kendall and McHenry counties. Kane County officials are also in the process of raising the daily rates on the juvenile detention agreements with DeKalb, Kendall and McHenry counties, which would further add to the profits. However, a decline in the number of juveniles sent by those counties so far this year may negate some of that income boost.

Kane County officials said that population decline doesn't appear to be attributable to a new state law that may eventually have a big impact on the number of youths placed in the corrections system.

As of Jan. 1, state law requires court service departments to find "less restrictive" alternatives to incarceration for juveniles.

That includes determining if a youth has had access to counseling, family therapy, diagnosis of learning disabilities, attempts at behavior changes by the local school district, and help for any medical problems that may have contributed to the juvenile committing crimes.

If the youth hasn't had access to those interventions, court services staff members must now figure out why and if such services could be better for the juvenile than incarceration.

Kane County Court Services Director Lisa Aust said the new law hasn't yet reduced the number of juveniles sentenced to the department of corrections. Instead, there's been an increased burden on juvenile probation workers to investigate what interventions the juvenile offender has been through.

But Aust isn't ready to say the youth detention population won't see a big drop because of the law.

"I don't think that's played itself out yet," Aust said. "We're monitoring it."

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