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Macon County Teen Justice Program


Macon County Teen Justice Program

The Macon County Teen Justice program in two capacities: Deflection and Diversion.


Deflection services include policies, practices, and programs that prevent youth arrest and court involvement and link youth to supportive services in the community, if needed. Ideally, deflection occurs instead of arrest, which in and of itself is a traumatic and humiliating experience for a young person.


Diversion services include the redirection of a youth’s legal case from further processing in the legal system at any point following arrest.


Youth between the ages of 9-17 are eligible for both deflection and diversion services. Participants can be referred to Teen Justice through local government agencies, law enforcement, community-based agencies, social service agencies, and family referrals/recommendations. Eligibility for Teen Justice depends on the severity of the case. Petty crimes, truancy, misdemeanors, and felonies are all eligible offenses (with the exception of serious violent crimes such as murder, attempt murder, gun cases, and sex assault/abuse cases).


Teen Justice gives participants the opportunity to avoid arrest and formal charges. Based in restorative justice practices, this program assists participants with development of problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, competency development (to better understand how their actions have impacted others), and also offers the chance for relationships to be repaired and/or restored to the harmed parties.


Teen Justice is a multi-tiered program that services the youth based on their risk and needs assessments. Youth are enrolled in the program for a minimum of 90 days.


Preventing Youth Arrests Through Deflection: Best Practices And Recommendations

This report, Preventing Youth Arrests through Deflection: Best Practices and Recommendations, is a collection of research-informed best-practices from the Commission for effective deflection programs for youth. As a state advisory group, our primary goal is to ensure that youth do not enter the justice system unnecessarily.


This report is not only applicable for the City of Chicago in determining their best course of action regarding current diversion and deflection programs, such as the Juvenile Intervention & Support Center (JISC), but for communities across Illinois who are dedicated to reducing the number of youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. 

In light of the profound racial disparities evident in our state’s juvenile systems and the growing body of research on fair and effective practices, getting this right has never mattered more than it does today. We thank you for your continued partnership and dedication to making Illinois a better, more equitable place for youth. 




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