Prevent crime by giving children the right start

There is a growing consensus among law enforcement that we need to be doing much more on the front end to prevent crime on the back end. That’s why my office has created a Children’s Justice Division to focus our efforts on truancy, child support, delinquency, and child abuse and neglect in a way traditional prosecution doesn’t.

Juvenile being handcuffed

Juvenile Justice shows progress

When the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice was created in 2006, the state’s youth prisons held 1,500 juvenile offenders. Today, there are fewer than 900 kids behind bars in Illinois juvenile justice system.

Treat all 17-year-old offenders as juveniles, Illinois Senate votes

Currently, 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors are handled in juvenile justice courts while 17-year-olds charged with felonies are prosecuted in adult criminal courts and sent to adult prisons if incarcerated.

Under the proposal approved 40-10 by the Illinois Senate, all 17-year-old offenders would be handled by the juvenile justice system, although juveniles who commit serious crimes still could later be transferred and tried as an adult.