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Critics: Juvenile Offender Monitoring Needs Overhaul In Wake Of Roseland Rape

Thursday, September 18, 2014
by Dana Kozlov

Some county and union leaders are demanding action after the rape of a pregnant Chicago State University student, allegedly by a teen on electronic monitoring.

They want not just a review of juvenile monitoring procedures but a look at who’s put on electronic monitoring in the first place.

Some say there are flaws in the system – flaws that could put the public in danger, again.

Security is tight around the Cook County Juvenile Court building. It is where some young offenders are locked up and where probation officers monitor others let out on electronic monitoring.

Last week, one of those, 17-year-old Aaron Parks, allegedly raped a pregnant college student while wearing an EM bracelet. Officials admit his probation officer didn’t follow procedures.

But the head of the officer’s union says that’s the tip of a bigger problem here.

“This department, when it comes to electronic monitoring, they do not have any set standards,” says Jason Smith, president of AFSCME Local 3477.

Meaning, Smith says, some young offenders may slip through the cracks. Even though an email should be sent if an offender steps outside allowed boundaries, an off-duty officer or one driving another offender home may miss it.

Cook County 15th District Commissioner Tim Schneider wrote a letter to County Board President Toni Preckwinkle asking for a review of monitoring procedures and EM candidates.

“We need to make sure that these people are not going to go out in society and injure somebody while they’re out on EM,” he says.

Smith believes that’s already a reality.

Chief Judge Tim Evans oversees who’s put on electronic monitoring and who isn’t. He wasn’t available to answer questions Thursday.

The head of the juvenile probation department, in an email, says the audit of what happened in the Parks case is ongoing, as is a review of all other cases.

The official couldn’t say if any others had committed crimes while on EM.

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