Report: Confinement, water access used as punishment in Winnebago County youth detention

An inspection of the Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center found youth offenders are being locked in their cells for hours, that a series of minor infractions could land them in long-term confinement and that staff has sometimes shut off their access to water for hours at a time.

The 2023 inspection by the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice was conducted in June. Winnebago County Board members will review the report during a Thursday meeting.

The report found that the 48-bed Winnebago County Juvenile Detention facility in Rockford was out of compliance with standards for mental health services, discipline practices, minimum education time and minimum physical activity and leisure time.

Winnebago County Juvenile Detention Center Superintendent Julie McCray-Grotto declined an interview request.

Here are some of the findings of the report.

More: Rockford police: Juveniles have turned car theft into a game

Confined for hours

There are 28 officers working at the facility with five or six on second shift. But the report found children detained at the facility are typically confined for much if not all of the second shift because of staffing challenges.

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