The Commission’s work is carried out by four committees with specific charges:
Chair, Rick Velasquez
The Executive Committee meets bi-monthly (in months when the full Commission does not meet). The Executive Committee is responsible for developing by-laws and rules for the Commission. The Committee also addresses issues as assigned by the full Commission and Chairperson.
For meeting and minutes information, click here
Chair, Lisa Jacobs
The Planning and Grants Committee guides the development of the Commission’s annual Comprehensive Plan, which is submitted to OJJDP. The Committee also oversees the Commission’s grantmaking by reviewing proposals, making funding recommendations, and reviewing grant implementation.
According to the Commission’s bylaws, the Committee has the following authority and responsibility to:
- Develop, Review and Revise the state’s juvenile justice Comprehensive Plans
- Review and Recommend Allocation of Funds
- Review of Comprehensive Plans
- Review of Concept Papers
- Review of Competitive and Non-Competitive Applications
- Review of Proposals
- Review of Proposals for Funds in Imminent Danger of Lapse
- Revision, Termination and Suspension of Grants Funds
All actions taken by the Planning and Grants Committee are presented to the full Commission for approval.
Co-Chairs: Michelle Mbekeani and Julia Schick
Across the country, youth of color are more likely to be arrested, detained, and incarcerated than white youth. These racial disparities are known as Racial and Ethnic Disparities (R.E.D.). Reducing R.E.D. is one of the four core requirements of the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and a key component of the Commission’s work.
The Illinois Racial Justice and Equity Committee (IRJEC) guides the Commission’s work to address minority overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system. The IRJEC also works to address deficiencies in the way race and ethnicity data is collected throughout the juvenile justice system. The Committee funded a comprehensive statewide R.E.D Assessment that was completed in March 2013. The Assessment included data from 41 Illinois counties and survey responses from over 600 juvenile justice professionals on the issue of R.E.D. The Commission, in cooperation with Illinois Models for Change, released Guidelines for Collecting and Recording Race and Ethnicity in the Illinois Juvenile Justice System.
In addition to the four committees, Commissioners volunteer to work on various projects as needed.
The Commission is responsible for ensuring full compliance with the four core requirements of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), reauthorized in 2018 as the Juvenile Justice Reform Act (JJRA). The first three requirements are of relevance to the Compliance Committee:
Jail Removal – Juveniles arrested for a delinquent offense may not be held in “Secure Custody” for more than six hours.
Sight and Sound Separation – Any minor so confined shall be under periodic supervision and shall not be permitted to come into or remain in contact with adults in custody in the building. Juveniles accused of status offenses cannot be placed in a jail, municipal lockup, detention center or correctional facility.
The reauthorization of the act in 2018 included new rules, requirements, and updated definitions that directly impact Illinois’ ability to maintain compliance utilizing current policies, jeopardizing critical federal funding. Maintaining compliance also ensures statewide application of humane and effective practices with youth in contact with the juvenile justice system. The committee is responsible for guiding the Commission’s work to address compliance monitoring issues and barriers, identifying national best practices and explore possible policy solutions as it relates to maintaining compliance with the core requirements.
The Youth Engagement Committee (YEC) spearheads intentional efforts to increase the involvement of young people in the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission’s (IJJC’s) work and elevate the voices of youth on the juvenile justice issues that impact them. In the fall of 2021, the YEC partnered with Adler University’s Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice to convene the Youth Advisory Board (YAB). The Youth Advisory Board is made up of young people from Illinois who are 18-24 years of age, and have experience with or interest in the juvenile justice system. These young people gather biweekly to build community, learn about the juvenile justice system, and develop their own advocacy projects to carry out independently and in conjunction with the IJJC. The Youth Engagement Committee provides ongoing support and oversight to this work and continues to explore additional opportunities to engage young people across the state in the work of the IJJC.