The Role of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission

Under the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act and Illinois law, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission is charged with crafting policy and practice recommendations to the Governor, General Assembly, Executive Branch and state and local stakeholders. The Commission is also tasked with allocating federal juvenile justice funding and leveraging other sources of funding to develop and support effective juvenile justice programs and strategies.

The Commission is also charged with ensuring that the state maintains compliance with the core requirements of the federal JJJDP Act, in ways that benefit youth and communities. These core requirements include deinstitutionalization (non-detention) of status offenders, ensuring that youth are not held in adult jails or lock-ups for extended periods of time, ensuring that youth are protected through “sight and sound” separation from adults in confinement and addressing the widespread and troubling overrepresentation of youth of color in our juvenile justice system. In Illinois, youth of color are significantly overrepresented at all stages of the juvenile justice system, but most significantly at the detention and incarceration states. Ensuring fundamental fairness and equitable treatment for all youth and families is an irreducible component of an effective juvenile justice system.

As the Commission carries out these important responsibilities, it seeks to ensure that proposed policy, practice, programming and funding allocations advance these core values and help Illinois implement and sustain a fair and effective juvenile justice system