Juvenile Justice Initiative President Betsy Clarke has testified before the Joint Criminal Justice Reform Committee on October 14, 2014, along with Cook County Board of President Toni Preckwinkle, IDJJ Director Candice Jones and many others.
Betsy Clarke discussed the JJI automatic transfer study, addressing huge racial disparities in the automatic transfer practice and the tendency of youth to plead guilty for juvenile offenses that would not have triggered adult trials in the first place.
Clarke continued to argue that judicial – or discretionary- transfer, which allows the juvenile court judge to review the age and circumstances of the charged offense, along with the history of the youth, including previous criminal conduct, previous history of abuse or neglect, and any mental health problems, is more than adequate to protect the public welfare while ensuring the most effective disposition is used in each ase.
She applauded successes in juvenile justice reform thus far, and encouraged the ILGA Criminal Justice Reform Committee members to “be bold” in further reforms.
Read the full testimony here.