Save the Date! JJI’s Annual Event, October 4th, 2018 


70 percent of the young people arrested in Illinois are dealing with mental health issues

April 9, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Seven in 10 juveniles arrested in Illinois have underlying mental health issues, and advocates are urging lawmakers to offer them treatment rather than jail time.

According to the report “Stemming the Tide,” 30,000 young people have been arrested and 11,000 incarcerated in the state. Public Defender Amy Campanelli is calling on lawmakers to implement a diversion plan like the one that’s been successful in the Miama-Dade area in Florida. (via public news service) 

For a link to the full article, please click here.


Illinois Considers Raising the Age for Juveniles Going to Adult Court 

February 26, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Legislation aimed at keeping juveniles on the right track is being discussed by Illinois lawmakers.

Rep. Laura Fine, D-Glenview, introduced HB 4581 this month. It would gradually bump the age that young offenders charged with misdemeanors are sent to adult court from 18 to 21, if the court decides the case does not belong in juvenile court.

Betsy Clarke, president of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, said adult court can only jail and punish, but juvenile judges can give alternatives to young people who have gotten in trouble. For example, they can steer them towards getting a G.E.D or job training, or place them with a mentor.

“You can really look holistically at what the issues are that are causing the young person to come into conflict with the law, and then address those underlying issues,” Clarke said.

She said the goal is to make sure that punishments for young people who make mistakes don’t make things worse rather than better. The bill has been assigned to committee for study and will be heard in the next couple of weeks. (link to article listed below)

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2018-02-26/criminal-justice/bill-would-raise-age-that-kids-go-to-adult-court/a61582-1

For a link to the proposed bill, click here.

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JJI Campaigns to end detention of elementary school age children:

House Bill 4543 (Rep. Gabel) raises the age of detention in  Illinois from 10 to 13 – with a delayed effective date to give communities time to plan for alternative services and placement.

Currently, young children can be locked up before trial – but 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, click here.

For a link to our fact sheet:  Min. Age Detention3 fact sheet Feb 23

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JJI Acknowledges Pastor Ron Taylor

JJI acknowledges the passing of Pastor Ron Taylor. 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.  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.  


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.


 

2017 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.   

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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.