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 Reform – Public 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:
- Read JJI’s letter to Gov. Rauner to urge him to sign the bill into law, and you can join our effort.
- Click here to download the JJI’s fact sheet on HB3718.
- Click here for one page summary of the recent automatic transfer data in Cook County.
- Read our report reviewing 257 cases of chidren automatically transferred to adult court in Cook County.
- Read Hon. Elizabeth Robb’s opinion on automatic transfer and Cook County judges’ opinion.
- Read “Editorial: Right-size criminal justice system; keep kids out of it“
- Check Chicago Tribune article explaning the difference between current automatic transfer law and our proposed law
- Click here for other media coverage.
- Want to hear voices of children affected by automatic transfer? Read In Their Own Words.
Ending misdemeanor commitments to Dept. of Juvenile Justice –Public 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.