More flexibility in juvenile court

“More flexibility in juvenile court” by News-Gazette

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Juvenile courts in Illinois now will be trusted with handling the cases of some minors previously tried as adults.

It’s a good thing that the cases against most 17-year-olds arrested for misdemeanors and felonies will be resolved in juvenile court beginning Jan. 1.

The legislation recently signed by Gov. Pat Quinn is designed to give these young offenders — some first-time lawbreakers and some recidivists — an opportunity to straighten out their lives before moving up to the much harsher adult court setting. Unfortunately, it also will have negative unintended consequences, just as previous reforms have.

The new law will reverse the current circumstance, which divides 17-year-olds into categories.