All posts by giuliapetroni2018

From former gang member to local mentor: How one man is helping youth say ‘no’ to gang life

By Giulia Petroni
Medill Reports

Between West Cermak Road and West 32nd Street there’s an invisible line dividing the east and west sides of Little Village. Formerly known as South Lawndale, the neighborhood boasts one of the largest Mexican-American communities of the Midwest.

There, street gangs continue to represent a visible presence. Latin Kings to the east, Gangster Two-Six to the west. Each with its own internal structure and rules. Only one law reigns supreme: Hate whoever is on the other side.

Jorge Roque knows it well. He was born in El Paso, Texas, and moved to Chicago in the late 1970s.

“Little Village grew me up,” he said.

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Juvenile-justice report: Incarceration doesn’t rehabilitate but family-based programs might

By Giulia Petroni
Medill Reports

Family-focused and community-based approaches are more effective than incarceration in rehabilitating offenders and creating safe communities, according to a new report on Illinois’ juvenile-justice system.

Even when performing at their best, traditional prison-based systems not only fail in adequately supporting development and rehabilitation, but also cause an increase of costs and recidivism rates, according to the Children and Family Justice Center.

Being in detention for any length of time increases the risk of a youth’s being incarcerated as an adult, the report revealed.

“Cook County youth who were sent to juvenile detention were twice as likely -as youth with the same backgrounds who were not detained due to more lenient judges- to be incarcerated in an adult prison by the age of 25,” according to the report.

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Pending budget causes uncertainty amongst Cook County’s employees

By Giulia Petroni
Medill Reports

Three weeks into the new year, Cook County’s budget for 2018 remains stalled by an ongoing lawsuit contesting major cuts, leaving the county’s justice system in an atmosphere of uncertainty.

After the county’s board of commissioners approved 320 layoffs and cuts of over $200 million in order to fill the budget hole caused by the sweetened beverage tax’s repeal, employees under the authority of Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans feared their jobs could be in jeopardy.

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