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Juvenile Court

Posted on: March 9, 2015

Radio interview with Judge Cubbon and Deborah Hodges on Michigan Public Radio

When they're campaigning for election or reelection, politicians tend to talk a big game. They suddenly become crusaders for change, even if they've spent years mired in bureaucracy.

Judge Denise Cubbon, the lead judge of the Lucas County Juvenile Court, in Toledo, Ohio, breaks that mold. Along with her Court Administrator, Deborah Hodges, Judge Cubbon has become a champion for change, for some of the country's most vulnerable offenders: Children.

Together, Judge Cubbon and Hodges have transformed the Lucas County Juvenile Justice System, focusing on rehabilitation in the community instead of incarceration. As juvenile justice systems across the country begin to question the incarceration model, the Lucas County system has become a model.

As Judge Cubbon tells The Takeaway, "Juvenile courts across the country [are] founded on the notion that all children have the opportunity to make important changes in their lives." Judge Cubbon and Hodges believe that their system—founded on new neuroscience research and data analysis regarding previous offenders—makes those changes more likely.


Lucas County brings together the Department of Youth Services, the courts, schools, social workers, probation officers and mental health providers to work to safely divert juveniles from detention. The money they save creates more community-based treatment and accountability plans so many youths can continue to live at home and go to school. As a juvenile court judge Cubbon must balance the desire for rehabilitation with the communities need for safety.
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The Takeaway is an hour-long national news program that relies on the contributions of listeners across the country to deliver the perspectives and analysis you need to understand the day’s news. Host John Hockenberry convenes conversations with both newsmakers and diverse voices, and brings in news leaders from producing partners, The New York Times and WGBH Boston, inviting you to learn more. Be a part of the American conversation on-air and online here at TheTakeaway.org.

The Takeaway is a unique partnership of global news leaders. It is a co-production of PRI (Public Radio International) and WNYC Radio in collaboration with The New York Times and WGBH Boston.

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