Macon County Teen Justice

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Teen Justice?

Teen Justice restorative justice program that operates as a deflection program designed to keep youth from experiencing what it’s like to be arrested for a crime or an act of wrongdoing. Our overall goal is to work with a youth before they get arrested.

Teen Justice also operates as a diversion program (or intervention program) that helps youth avoid further involvement with law enforcement and criminal courts. If the youth has already been arrested, we develop case plans and wraparound services for youth to keep them out of jails, criminal court proceedings, and prisons.  

Who gets sent to the Macon County Teen Justice Program?

Juveniles under the age of 18 who have committed a criminal offense or who have caused harm to others.  

Does a juvenile have to be arrested to come to Teen Justice?

No. Youth do not have to be arrested prior to making a referral to Teen Justice.  

If the youth has already been arrested, we still encourage everyone to complete the referral inquiry.  

Who makes referrals to the Teen Justice?

Anyone residing in Macon County, IL can refer a youth to Teen Justice as long as the youth also resides within Macon County.

Who or which Agency currently sends cases to Teen Justice?  

Law Enforcement, Macon County State’s Attorney’s Office, Community-based programs, Social Service Agencies, School districts, Macon-Piatt Regional Office of Education #39, and concerned parents within the community have all made referrals to Teen Justice.  

What types of offenses are eligible for Teen Justice?

Teen Justice will accept cases from the following categories:

  • Petty offenses (could come from home, schools, local businesses, etc.)

  • City Ordinance Violation referrals (must be referred from City of Decatur)

  • Truancy and chronic truancy cases

  • Misdemeanors

  • Felonies

  • (Only accepting Class 1 and lower)

No youth may be referred that has been charged with any offense that is sexual in nature or if the case involves any firearms

Is Teen Justice mandatory?

No. This program is 100% voluntary. No one is forced to enroll. Also, participants can choose to exit the program at any time.  

How long will someone be enrolled in Teen Justice?

All participants enroll for a minimum of 3 months. The program length is determined through a collaborative process involving the youth, parents, and other relevant parties or agencies involved in the intake and care planning.  

What if I don’t or can’t show up for my Teen Justice intake appointment?

If you don’t show up and you were referred, you should call the office to speak with the Teen Justice Case Manager at 217-521-7575 or email the Case Manager at Smbunch@millikin.edu within one week (7 days), otherwise your case will be closed and referred back to the original referral source for further notice.  

When and where is Teen Justice held?

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Teen Justice intake meetings and support circles are held virtually (via zoom or other platforms) to ensure that people and families can stay as safe as possible during these times. All virtual meetings are set up by the Case Manager.  

What happens in Teen Justice meetings?

The Case Manager coordinates intake meetings and assessments for all participants. Program participants are assessed to gain a better understanding of the participants’ likelihood to reoffend, the participants’ needs, and how likely the participant is to respond to any treatment or services recommended by the support circle. Next, the Case Manager coordinates meetings between program participants, harmed parties, support services, social services, school district personnel, family members, and any other relevant parties specific to each case.  

The (restorative) support circle focuses on harm caused to harmed parties, building or repairing relationships between parties and program participants, and focuses on ways to repair harm caused by the actions of the participant.  

Every support circle creates an individual care plan for program participants. Support circles work with participants to maximize possibilities of successful completion of care plans and the program overall.

Can anyone sit in and watch Teen Justice support circles?

No. This is not a spectator sport. Juvenile cases are confidential, and all participants must have prior approval from the Case Manager or Program Director to attend support circles.  

How can I volunteer with Teen Justice?

Adult and youth volunteers are always welcome! Please contact the Case Manager at 217-521-7575 or Smbunch@millikin.edu for more information!

Can I volunteer if I have been in legal trouble before?

Yes, you can volunteer! To find out more, please call or email us at 217-521-7575 or Smbunch@millikin.edu.

Does Teen Court operate during the summer months?

Yes, Teen Justice operates 12 months out of the year with the exception of major holiday  and breaks per Millikin University’s annual schedule.