** Updated May 14, 2013
The Illinois Senate voted May 14, 2013 to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18, which means that 17-year-0lds charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies will be tried and sentenced in juvenile court rather than adult court.
The bill, which was approved by the House in April, heads next to Gov. Pat Quinn. Thirty-eight other states have already set 18 as the age for prosecution in adult court.
House Bill 2404 was approved by a vote of 40-10.
Juvenile Justice Initiative President Elizabeth Clarke, who advocated for the change, welcomed the news. “This change brings Illinois in line with 38 other states – and the rest of the world – who all recognize that seventeen year olds deserve the protections and the treatment solely available in the juvenile court in order to prevent reoffending,” Clarke said.
**Updated April 17, 2013
The Illinois House approved HB2404, which would raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 17, by a vote of 89-26 on Tuesday, April 16. The bill heads next to the Senate.
Under the bill, youth under 18 years of age would be tried in juvenile court for misdemeanor and felony charges. Youth charged with the most serious felonies, including all violent charges, would be subject to transfer to adult court.
The Chicago Tribune quoted House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) as saying the bill would help give youth access to the resources in the juvenile system that could help rehabilitate them.
“I think it’s time for us to treat young people as young people because, as we know, they really are young, and their minds are not fully formed and their judgment is not always as mature as we would like it to be,” said Currie, the chief sponsor of the bill.
Read the Chicago Sun-Times article on the bill passing the House here.
It is anticipated the legislation would have minimal fiscal impact on taxpayers and would make Illinois consistent with 38 other states and most of the rest of the world.
The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission studied the issue and concluded that Illinois should raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction; click here to read the commission’s report.
Click here to read JJI’s fact sheet on HB2404 and some supporting documents.
The Ottawa Times wrote about HB2404 here. Read the Northwest Herald story here. The Chicago Sun-Times editorialized in favor of raising the age for juvenile court jurisdiction here, as did the State Journal-Register and the Pantagraph.
Previous coverage of Raising the Age:
- Read JJI’s fact sheet on Public Act 95-1031, Raising the Age to 18 for Juveniles Charged with Misdemeanors here.
- The Springfield State Journal-Register’s May 14, 2008 Editorial on Raising the Age for misdemeanants is available here.
- JJI President Elizabeth Clarke’s testimony to the Wisconsin Legislature in favor of raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18 from September, 2005.