Davenport’s juvenile program is needed now more than ever

DAVENPORT -  A program aimed at keeping kids out of the criminal system is expanding.

It comes as police receive more reports of teenagers stealing cars. Since last week a dozen teens have been arrested some as young as 13.

Davenport's Diversion program now has more room to grow. On Tuesday, October 31st, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate its new space located on W 4th Street in Davenport.

"It`s going to allow us the opportunity to work in a more treatment-type setting," said Jeremy Kaiser, Director of Scott County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Program.

With the new space, the program will be able to provide more detention alternative programs designed to keep juveniles from re-offending.

"We`re unfortunately filling beds all the time and there`s only so many beds available," said Scott County attorney Michael Walton.

Some say the growth of the program is needed now more than ever.

"I think it`s obvious we have a problem with juvenile crime right now going on in the Quad Cities," said Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane.

There's been an uptick in juvenile crime, especially with car thefts.

"I feel like a lot of these juveniles are good kids. They have good hearts, they`ve either just been caught up in the wrong people or they`ve just made a very poor decision and we don`t just want to lock them up and throw away the key. We want to talk to them about their future," said Kaiser.

Some of these kids will enter into the program. Instead of sending first-time offenders to juvenile court, they are diverted to the program that emphasizes education.

"If you take someone and you put them in a room and you put them in a room for a week, you take them out what did they learn? Other than they don`t want to be in that room. It`s not that effective. What`s effective is working with them and teaching them new patterns of thought and teaching them good new habits," said Kaiser.

Kaiser hopes this new way of thinking will not only keep crime down but turn someone's life around.

"I really feel like we can do so much more out in the community to help these kids learn, new ways of thinking and how to develop more positive behaviors," said Kaiser.

The program also helps teens with life after detention. It offers a program that helps them transition back into the community.