Our Current Focus

YOUNG ADULTS – JJI was present on Sept. 8, 2015 as the U.S. Attorney General hosted a summit on Young Adults in the justice system, including the release of a paper urging that we raise the age of juvenile court to 21.   As Attorney General Loretta Lynch noted: brain science also indicates that we may have a significant opportunity, even after the teenage years, to exert a positive influence and reduce future criminality through appropriate interventions.  

  • Read JJI’s testimony on Young Adults, filed Oct. 30, 2015 before the Illinois Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Commission.
  • Read JJI’s research on Young Adults in Cook County Jail in 2013 – including the fact that 4,011 admissions of young adults to the jail were for misdemeanor offenses.
  • Read JJI’s testimony filed July 27, 2015 before the Illinois Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Commission, urging the replication of juvenile diversion and sentencing options for Young Adults.
  • Read commentary in Chicago Tribune urging that the age of juvenile court be raised to 21.
  • Read new national report urging community based responses to justice involved young adults.

FUND COMMUNITY PROGRAMS – JJI urges the Governor and Illinois Legislature to fully fund community based preventative and intervention services for children in Illinois.

  • Read JJI’s statement on the need to maintain community based services in the state budget.

NEW LAWS:  The Governor signed the following bills.   Detailed information on the JJI research and advocacy leading up to passage of these reforms is listed below.

Transfer ReformPublic Act 99-0258 (HB 3718) (Nekritz/Raoul) Automatic transfer reform. Eliminates automatic transfer for children age 15 and under and expands discretion of juvenile court judges to make transfer decisions for 16-17 year olds except for those charged with first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery with a firearm.

HB3718 – a bill to limit automatic transfers of children under age 18 to adult court:

Ending misdemeanor commitments to Dept. of Juvenile JusticePublic Act 99-0268 (Nekritz/Raoul) Eliminates committing children to DJJ for misdemeanors, makes aftercare term same as parole term for adults for same offense, and has other provisions that will help “right-size” the DJJ population.

SB1560 – a bill to ban admitting children for midemeanor offenses and limit aftercare (parole):

Detention Age – Public Act 99-0254 (HB 2567) (Gabel/Steans) Children ages 10-12 cannot be placed in detention unless there is a determination that no placement is available with a community-based youth service provider. Adds one step to already existing detention screening process – making a phone call to see if an alternative placement can be found.

HB2567 – a bill to reduce detentions of children ages 10-12 through community alternatives:



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.