Joint Media Release from Chief Judge McGraw and Sheriff Caruana Print E-mail

 

A Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputy will be assigned at the Winnebago County Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) effective Monday, June 12, 2017.   This staffing decision was achieved by the action and collaborative effort of Chief Judge Joseph G. McGraw and Sheriff Gary Caruana, as well as their partnership with Chief Dan O’Shea and a financial contribution from the City of Rockford.  

The JAC is located within the Winnebago County Juvenile Justice Center at 211 South Court Street in Rockford, Illinois.  This facility serves as a centralized location for arrested juveniles to be processed into the juvenile justice system and evaluated.  This evaluation includes a determination of whether a juvenile will be released to a guardian or be detained at the Juvenile Detention Center. 

In 2015, the Sheriff’s Department was forced to eliminate the posting of a Sheriff’s Deputy  at the JAC due to budget cuts.  As a result, arresting officers from around the County could not transfer custody of a juvenile to a Sheriff’s Deputy located directly at the JAC.  Rather,  the arresting officer was required to remain with the juvenile throughout the intake, evaluation process, and  the release of the minor to either a guardian or Detention Center staff.   This inability to transfer custody of juveniles promptly significantly imposed upon the time of busy patrol officers throughout the County while they waited for the assessment to be completed.  Now, patrol officers will be able to drop juveniles off at the JAC and get back on the streets.  

Arrested juveniles will now be transported to the JAC for an intake evaluation and a “probation adjustment interview” conducted by a JAC Probation Officer.  This interview is an immediate intervention, allowing the juvenile and his or her family to receive immediate services when necessary. The JAC Probation Officer will meet with both the juvenile and his or her guardian to discuss the arrest, the juvenile’s criminal history, school performance, family dynamics, community interaction, substance abuse, and mental health history.   

Following the interview, the JAC Probation Officer will make a recommendation to the State’s Attorney regarding the arrest. The recommendation will take into account the seriousness of the offense, the history of delinquency and any other information provided by the minor or his or her guardian.

Commenting on the Sheriff’s Department staffing decision, Chief Judge Joseph G. McGraw states, “The staffing of a Sheriff’s Deputy will provide greater efficiency and increased utilization of the Juvenile Assessment Center.  I appreciate the work and support of Sheriff Caruana and the City of Rockford to restore this much needed component in our juvenile justice system.”

Downloadable Media Release PDF