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Questions? Email ew@jjustice.org.

Legislative Update:

Illinois took major steps forward in juvenile justice reform during the legislative session. Highlighted by The Youth Opportunity and Fairness Act which makes juvenile expungement more accessible to youth in Illinois.

Illinois has also banned police booking stations from all schools in the state, this is a groundbreaking policy that will help dismantle the school to prison pipeline.

Click here for a link to review this and other significant juvenile justice legislation Juvenile Justice Legislation

Our Goal:

HUMAN RIGHTS for all children in conflict with the law, including lawyers from the first point of contact, full confidentiality, and proportionate dispositions.   

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Our Current Focus:

ENDING DETENTION of elementary school age children.

House Bill 2619 (Rep. Slaughter) raises the age of detention in  Illinois from 10 to 13. 

Currently, young children can be locked up before trial – when they can not be locked up upon a finding of guilt.   The minimum age to hold youth in pre-trial detention is currently 10.  The minimum age to sentence youth to juvenile state prison (Department of Juvenile Justice) after trial is 13.  This bill resolves this discrepancy by raising the minimum age of detention to 13.

  • Consistent with National Standards – Annie E. Casey’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) standards prohibit juvenile detention facilities from holding youth under the age of 13.  
  • American Pediatrics Association. finds Confinement as a Child has lifelong adverse health consequences – A new study by the American Pediatrics Association (APA), How Does Incarcerating Young People Affect their Adult Health Outcomes, concludes that youth who are incarcerated have poor health outcomes as adults including adult depressive symptoms from incarceration for less than a month.
  • The lifelong negative impact of detention is especially triggered by incarceration at the pre-teen stage. 

For a link to the bill:  http://ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=2619&GAID=14&GA=100&DocTypeID=HB&LegID=103889&SessionID=91

For a link to our fact sheet:  HB 2619 Fact Sheet



The Juvenile Justice Initiative is a non-profit, non-partisan statewide advocacy organization working to transform the juvenile justice system in Illinois. We advocate to reduce reliance on incarceration, to enhance fairness for all youth and to develop a comprehensive continuum of community-based resources throughout the state.