OP-ED: Why Do We Need to Do This Work?

Children in Prison WHY THEY ARE THERE?

OP-ED: Why Do We Need to Do This Work?.

OP-ED: Why Do We Need to Do This Work?

Mark WernerAs Deputy Chief of the Cook Juvenile Probation and Court Services, I’m frequently asked about my work surrounding dual status youth — youth involved with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Most often, I am asked why I feel there is a need to focus on this particular population of youth.

My answer is simple, although it is backed by decades of research indicating the complex challenges and unique characteristics of dual status youth, such as traumatic experiences, increased likelihood of being incarcerated and remaining incarcerated for longer periods, disparate treatment and representation of minority youth, and high rates of unaddressed mental health needs. Research supports the necessity for reform, but my reason for doing this work is Josh, Ricky, Shenese, Connor and…

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