juvenile justice

Illinois Issues: New Laws In 2017

Dec 29, 2016
General Assembly chamber
Matt Turner / flickr

Nearly 200 new laws go into effect in Illinois on January 1.   

The state still doesn’t have a budget. A stopgap spending plan, which was approved over the summer, will end on January 1, leaving social service agencies, institutions of higher education and others in the lurch.

But, in the past year, legislators did approve hundreds of pieces of legislation, which the governor signed. Nearly 200 laws will go into effect at the start of the new year — close to the number that went into effect at the start of each of the past three years.

handcuffs
Flickr.com/banspy

The Illinois Supreme Court is considering a new rule to limit the use of handcuffs and shackles during juvenile delinquency hearings.

The proposal would allow restraints on a minor only if a judge finds the youth is likely to hurt someone or escape.

The Supreme Court’s Rules Committee will take testimony on the proposed change at a July 8 hearing in Chicago.

Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice / Kewanee

A program meant to rehabilitate juvenile offenders hasn’t seen state funding while Illinois has gone for almost a year without a budget. The program, called Redeploy Illinois, has had to make cutbacks, leaving more than 100 teens without services.

A recent report from the Associated Press found that some young people who lost access to the program have committed new violations, including a string of crimes in Rockford early this year. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn talked with Associated Press reporter Sophia Tareen about her story. 

WUIS

A group of Illinois legislators failed to endorse Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to close the youth prison in Kewanee. But Tuesday's vote will not necessarily keep the facility open.

Illinois Supreme Court
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A youthful mistake could be a burden for life, according to a study released Thursday by the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

An Illinois lawmaker want teenagers accused of murder to have a lawyer present when questioned by law enforcement. 

Trevon Yates interrogation
MacArthur Justice Center

How do you get a 17-year-old to confess to a crime he didn’t commit? Turns out it’s not that hard.

Chad Kainz

The state may still be far from a budget deal, but the General Assembly was able to pass several criminal justice reforms in the spring legislative session.

Doing Right By The Kids

Dec 1, 2014

This story first appeared in the June 2014 issue.

Special monitoring visits to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice recently found youth detainees mowing lawns and building shelves rather than attending educational courses. Monitors discovered youth being given medication with inadequate consent and living in rooms that were improperly maintained. Facilities were found to lack the proper staff to treat juvenile offenders with mental illnesses.

  Summer is a time lawmakers can work on legislation that didn't move anywhere during the General Assembly's spring session. One of those proposals would require schoolchildren be read their Miranda Rights.

It happens in schools across Illinois: one student pushes another in a hallway, or there's a full-fledged fight.

Often, police, based on- or off-campus will come break up the altercation. That means an official police report will be filed.

handcuffs
Flickr.com/banspy

A new law will automatically clear certain arrest records for juveniles when they turn 18. It’s meant to keep arrests that did not result in criminal charges from following kids into adulthood.

The law applies only to arrests for lesser crimes — mostly non-violent. Sex offenses and top felonies will stay on the books, as will any arrest that resulted in formal criminal charges.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Illinois Legislature adjourned its spring session having passed a new state budget and other key measures, but leaving some business undone. Here's a look at what passed and what didn't:  
     BILLS SENT TO GOV. PAT QUINN:  
Budget: A roughly $35.7 billion budget for 2015 keeps funding flat for schools and most state agencies. Majority Democrats acknowledged the budget is ``incomplete'' because it postpones tough votes about whether to slash spending or find new revenue until after November's election.  

The Illinois General Assembly is weighing the creation of a "juvenile ombudsman," an independent official who can keep an eye on the state's juvenile prisons.

The push for an ombudsman comes in the wake of a report that ranks Illinois' juvenile prisons among the worst in the country for sexual abuse.

If a 17-year-old were caught stealing an iPod in Illinois, he or she would likely end up in the juvenile justice system. However, if the same teenager were caught stealing the newest iPhone, he or she would land in adult court, be held with adult inmates and end up with a record that would follow him or her into adult life. Advocates argue that it is time to change that disparity in the system.

Jamey Dunn
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Just a few months ago, it looked as if the scandal surrounding the “Meritorious Good Time Push” prisoner-release program could cost Gov. Pat Quinn a win in the primary election. Under the program, exposed by the Associated Press in December, the Illinois Department of Corrections was awarding prisoners months of early release time for good behavior in the first few days of their sentences, thus returning some violent offenders to the streets after they spent just a few weeks behind bars.

Active juvenile caseloads, Illinois 1990-1998
"The Status of Juvenile Detention in Illinois, Annual Report 1998"

There's not much Kevin Lyons can say about spending on juvenile cases that pass through his office. Except this: "Somebody's got to stop the bleeding."