This week we had the opportunity to visit the Juvenile Detention Center of Cook County, IL. Although I have to admit I was uncomfortable with the idea at first, I was eager to see what prison is really like. Given that a juvenile detention center is far from a maximum security prison, it was still interesting to see the living conditions.
Although I’m relatively against locking up children for extended periods of times (causing them to miss out on social development, family time, etc.), for some of these violent crimes, there is nowhere else to turn. That being said, I found the school at the Juvenile Detention Center to be positively surprising. Not only is it an accredited Chicago Public School, the school also has one teacher and one special education teacher in each classroom. It was great to hear that the students were required to attend school, something they might not do in their normal lives. I believe the ability to go to school will allow many of these kids to reevaluate their goals and dreams.
Overall the experience at the Juvenile Detention Center was interesting, but I certainly still don’t support locking up juveniles for lesser crimes– drug charges, etc.