JJI Mourns the Loss of Pastor Ron Taylor

(Picture taken from UCCRO website)

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Pastor Ron Taylor. Pastor Taylor was a beloved colleague and friend, whose leadership was both inspiring and impactful.

Pastor Taylor was a great man of faith and action, and his loss will be felt around the state of Illinois, and especially in Chicago. Our thoughts are with his family and the UCCRO community.

Cards can be sent to:


c/o Mecole Jordan

2532 W. Warren Blvd.

Chicago, IL 60612


Pastor Ron Taylor was an honoree at our October 2017 event. Pastor Taylor was instrumental in passing legislation requiring lawyers for young teenagers and children during interrogation.  He is pictured below with JJI board member, Sharod Gordon.

Juvenile Justice Initiative’s Testimony on Safety in the Department of Juvenile Justice, December 5th, 2017

(Photo from ProPublica Illinois) 

Link to media coverage of the House Appropriations-Public Safety Committee Hearing-click here.

Link to the ombudsman’s report on IDJJ-click here.

Juvenile Justice Initiative Fall 2017 Newsletter  

(Pictured above: IL Rep. Laura Fine, IL Rep. Arthur Turner, and IL Sen. Patricia Van Pelt at the June 2017 Reimagining Justice for Emerging Adults Summit.)

Thank You For Making Our Event a Success!

JJI Board members and honorees. (Pictured above from left to right: JJI Board Member, Michael Rodriguez; JJI President and Founder, Elizabeth Clarke; Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman; Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis; JJI Board Member, Paula Wolff; The Honorable Jesús “Chuy” García; and Pastor Ron Taylor. Not pictured, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke)

For more pictures from the October 5th, 2017 fundraiser, please click here.

Legislative Update:

Illinois, home of the world’s first juvenile court,  took major steps forward in juvenile justice reform during the 2017 Spring legislative session. The reforms were highlighted by The Youth Opportunity and Fairness Act which makes juvenile expungement more accessible to youth in Illinois.  The expungement reforms incorporated recommendations from an in-depth report by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission.

For a fact sheet on the juvenile expungement reforms click here.

In other legislation, Illinois banned police booking stations from all schools in the state, in order to reduce the school to prison pipeline.   The legislature also banned expulsion from early childhood programs.

Restorative justice was required to be included in training for staff in juvenile prisons in the Dept. of Juvenile Justice.

Resolutions celebrated due process rights for children (established in the 50 year old landmark case of In re Gault), and encouraged the adoption of Juvenile Redeploy Illinois in Cook County.

Click here for a link to 2017 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.   

human rights image

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.