Juvenile Parole and Reentry

IL Juvenile Parole Lawsuit

The system used in Illinois to determine whether to revoke parole for youth is unconstitutional and amounts to “kangaroo courts,” according to a class-action lawsuit filed in October, 2012 in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The lawsuit, filed by Northwestern University Law School’s Roderick MacArthur Justice Center on behalf of all youth on parole in Illinois, charges that the Illinois Prisoner Review Board routinely deprives juveniles of their rights to a fair hearing and legal representation.

Among the other allegations charged are that parole agents often mislead youth into waiving their rights to a preliminary hearing; that most juvenile parolees cannot review the nature of the charges against them until the date of their hearing; and that juvenile parolees are often denied the assistance of legal counsel.

In 2011, the parole board revoked parole in 735, or 65 percent of the 1,132 juvenile cases submitted to it, according to the lawsuit, citing the agency’s annual report. More than half of the revocations stemmed from technical violations, according to the lawsuit.

Last year, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission also harshly criticized the juvenile parole process, saying, for example, that lawyers were present in only 1 percent of revocation hearings.

Click here to read an Associated Press story or here to read the Chicago Tribune story on the lawsuit.

Click here to read the complaint.

Other resources on Juvenile Parole and Reentry

Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission Youth Reentry Improvement Report, December, 2011

  • The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission collected an unprecedented amount of data for this report, including reviewing nearly 400 files of youth whose parole was revoked, observing over 230 Prison Review Board juvenile hearings and meeting with various state employees involved in juvenile justice. This report presents the commissions findings on the challenges of the state’s juvenile justice system.

Advances in Juvenile Justice Reform: Probation, Parole, and Reentry

  • The National Juvenile Justice Network highlights advances in various states from 2009-2011.

Educational Aftercare & Reintegration Toolkit for Juvenile Justice Professionals, June, 2009

  • This MacArthur Models for Change toolkit provides resources to help juvenile probation officers and other professionals working on reintegration issues. The toolkit is directed to those working in Pennsylvania but may be helpful to others as well.