Dane County Rethinks How It Deals With Teens Who Receive Citations

Young People Will Be Able To Work Off The Fine, Clear Their Record Under New Program

Gilman Halsted/WPR

Dane County and the City of Madison are launching an ambitious restorative justice program aimed at reducing racial disparity in juvenile arrests and citations.

Seventy-five percent of the citations that Madison police issue each month are issued to youth of color. Beginning on Sept.15, police will start diverting those teens to a restorative court where the offenders can work off the ticket through community service and the arrest won’t go on their record.

The plan is an expansion of youth court that’s already proved successful in the city’s schools. The YWCA will run the court.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Director Rachel Krinsky said the goal is to hold teens accountable.

“Solving the problem, making sure that the harm is taken care of, and doing work to ensure, we hope, that the harm does not recur is built in to the restorative justice process in a way that is sometimes not built in to the punitive justice processes that we use more often,” said Krinsky.

The program is funded through a grant from the state Department of Children and Families.