State will shift teenagers in custody to smaller centers

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a plan Friday to move teenagers in state custody to small regional residential centers with a variety of services closer to their homes.

“The 150-year-old punitive model simply doesn’t fulfill its mission,” Pritzker said.

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There now are five sites in Illinois, but they’re located in the north and south, which means teens can be far from home. Under the plan, 75% of youth will be closer to family.

Pritzker said young people need rehabilitation programs, therapeutic services and family support.

“When it comes to changing young lives for the better, love, nurturing and connection work better than fear, loathing and isolation,” said Heidi Mueller, director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.

The larger sites will be transferred to the state Corrections Department to possibly ease crowding in prisons.

Chicago revises program offering shared electric scooters

CHICAGO — Shared electric scooters are returning to Chicago’s streets, with a new pilot program focused on helping people get around the city’s neighborhoods.

City officials announced three companies — Bird, Lime and Spin — will make a total of 10,000 scooters available for rent over four months. That’s four times the number of scooters available during the first pilot program last summer.

This year’s program is expected to start Aug. 12 and there will be differences from last year’s version. Scooters must be equipped with locking mechanisms, and riders must lock the scooters to a fixed object, such as a bike rack or street sign, to end their trip. That follows complaints during last year’s pilot about scooters left strewn along sidewalks.

Scooters won’t be allowed on the lakefront or 606 trails, or in the city’s central business district. They may travel at a maximum of 15 miles per hour, and operate only between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day.

Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi said city officials learned from last summer’s pilot, and now want to test the usefulness of the scooters in neighborhoods.

The Associated Press