JISC Reform

Since 2019, the Mayor’s Office, CPD, and DFSS have worked diligently to implement short term reforms at the Juvenile Intervention and Support Center (JISC) in response to the youth-related paragraphs of the Consent Decree (paragraphs 32-36), recommendations from the Office of the Inspector General’s February 2020 audit, and Mayor Lightfoot’s priorities.  These reforms aim to make JISC more trauma-informed and improve the experience for youth. The City has improved and expanded JISC partnerships with community providers in order to connect young people with high-quality diversion opportunities such as mentoring, counseling, and job skills training. Social service providers, including Lawndale Christian Legal Center, are now embedded on site at the JISC in order to better assist young people and their families through the diversion process. The Mayor’s Office, CPD, and DFSS are committed to collaborative reforms to youth diversion for Chicago beyond the currently existing opportunities, including pre-arrest and deflection.


About JISC

The JISC offers young people in Chicago the opportunity for diversion. Diversion is the process of redirecting justice-involved youth away from formal processing and further involvement in the criminal justice system by providing youth with social services and resources and/or sending them home without further action. By successfully completing diversion, youth can avoid going to court and the risk of getting a conviction, and can even potentially get their record expunged.

Juveniles who are arrested in the JISC service area (Police Districts 001, 002, 003, 007, 008, 009, 010, 011, 012, 015) can be considered for diversion by the Chicago Police Department. If eligible for diversion, the juvenile may be referred to services in lieu of court. The eligibility determination process takes place on site at the JISC which is a Chicago Police Department center that is dedicated to serving juveniles and diverting them away from the criminal justice system.

Short-term reforms                                       

The City has prioritized immediate implementation of short-term recommendations from the OIG report and Consent Decree and has also included integration of a new case manager, Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC).

Several notable accomplishments have been made to date, including:     

  • Integration of a community-based organization to provide case manager support to youth eligible for diversion services, alongside the Department of Family and Support Services. that the service provider, LCLC, started providing on-site and community-based services in November 2020. (OIG 1, 16)
  • Documentation of partnership goals and on-site protocol between CPD, DFSS, Mayor's Office, and LCLC. (OIG 1)
  • Establishment of performance management structure to regularly review and interpret diversion and program data. (OIG 1, 9)
  • Partnership with Public Defender’s Office to support youth at JISC with legal support and to promote diversion, in addition to rotation of visiting service providers offering supports to young people on a regular schedule. (OIG 17, CD 34)
  • Development of “preferred qualifications” for particular positions at the JISC in order to ensure that members “skilled at working with youth” are being considered for roles at the JISC. (OIG 12)
  • Dissemination of a memo to all JISC staff clarifying the policies and procedures for accurate record retention at the JISC. (OIG 6, 7, 8)
  • Alignment of JISC Screening Tool to CLEAR data entry portals in order to improve the quality of data collected at the JISC. (OIG 9, 19, 20)
  • Identification of a trainer / training to educate JISC staff on topics such as youth development, cultural competence, and trauma-informed interactions, including adverse childhood experiences. (OIG 14)
  • Execution of data analysis on the days / times of the week that have the most JISC arrests and alignment of service provider presence at the JISC to those “high-traffic” times. Nearly a dozen community-based service organizations, such as Metropolitan Family Services and Youth Outreach Services, have agreed to provide volunteers to work directly from the JISC facility at certain times throughout the month and provide support to juveniles at the time when they need it most. (OIG 15)
  • Development of communications to inform community members, particularly those in the catchment area, of diversion opportunities for juveniles. (OIG 23)
  • Consultation with experts in youth trauma to transform the JISC into a more trauma-informed space. Improvements that have already been made include removing handcuffing rails and hanging community art to make it feel less like a typical police station. (OIG 10)

LCLC 2021 Contract Deliverables

  • Monthly data reports to demonstrate client engagement
  • Attendance and contribution to monthly performance management meetings with CPD, which include comparing against target outcomes:
    • 100% - Percent of youth referred by any source (including walk-ins) that LCLC contacts. LCLC will record if these contacts are successful or unsuccessful.
    • 75% - Percent of youth referred by any source (including walk-ins) that meet with a case manager to complete a needs assessment within 30 days and are given an individualized service plan.
    • 85% - Percent of youth who have completed a needs assessment begin individualized service plan implementation
    • 75% - Percent of youth who begin service plan implementation complete individualized service plan
  • JISC on-site protocol to memorialize partnership with CPD, DFSS, Mayor's Office, and LCLC
  • Master logs of clients, services, and linkages (to be shared upon request for accountability purposes, i.e. by OIG, etc)

Monthly CPD data reports:  JISC activity on arrests processed, arrest disposition outcomes (i.e. diversion via station adjustments, referral to court), arrival and movement timing, and other metrics

Monthly DFSS & service provider data reports: diversion case management services, referrals, needs assessments, case plans, and other service metrics

To promote accountability and transparency, the City has established a performance management structure to regularly review and interpret diversion and program data, identify trends, problem solve issues as they arise, and continually improve the delivery of the JISC program. 

  • The Mayor’s Office partnered with ChiByDesign to conduct engagement sessions with young people impacted by the justice system participated in these sessions as well as trusted adults such as parents/guardians, school administrators, and community-based service providers. ChiByDesign synthesized the input from these discussions to create set of guiding principles to inform youth diversion reform work going forward. 
  • The Mayor's Office and the Mayor's Youth Commission held engagement sessions in June 2021 to gather feedback and input on the City's youth diversion and deflection work.  


Other stakeholder engagement