The State of Illinois is taking on a more community-based approach to juvenile justice. Governor J.B. Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton announced on Friday their new 4-year plan to transition the state’s juvenile justice system away from incarceration to regional residential centers.
The plan also increases funding to intervention services and victim services for communities disproportionately impacted by violence. The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Initiative used decades of research from across the country to formulate the plan. Stratton said on Friday that the current model for juvenile justice has long-lasting, harmful effects: “For more than a century, the predominant model for treating youth has been confinement in large correctional facilities. We know that evidence shows that warehousing children in these facilities have serious and lifelong negative consequences.”
Next year, large juvenile justice centers are to be repurposed by the Illinois Department of Corrections for utilization for overcrowding at adult facilities. Current DJJ staff will continue to work in the department or in similar roles at the DOC. To view the plan, click here.