Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

The future of 17-year-olds in Illinois' justice system.

Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission

End Notes

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The customary way for minors to enter adult court in other states and for younger offenders in Illinois, is via automatic, mandatory, presumptive, or discretionary transfer provisions. In such cases, there is one singular default jurisdiction (juvenile), but youth may be transferred to adult court due to the severe nature of a particular offense or other aggravating factors.

Currently, only 11 other states currently set the delinquency age below 18. See note 7, infra.

Canada sends 17-year-olds to juvenile court; Mexico additionally considers 18-year-olds to be juveniles. Youth Criminal Justice Act, R.S.C. 2002, c. 2(1) (Can.); Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, Art. 18, Diario Oficial de la Federación, 13 de Octubre de 2011 (Mex.). Austria, Germany, Lithuania, and Spain send offenders under 21 to juvenile court; the UK and nearly all of Europe set the age of adulthood at 18. Josine Junger-Tas, Trends in International Juvenile Justice: What Conclusions Can be Drawn?in INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK OF JUVENILE JUSTICE 505, 516-21 (Josine Junger-Tas & Scott H. Decker eds., 2006). The United States is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, defining as children "every human being below the age of eighteen years." U.N. CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD, G.A. Res. 44/25, Art. 1, Annex, at 167, U.N. GAOR 44th Sess., Supp. No 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (Nov. 20, 1989) (entered into force Sept. 2, 1990) (signed by the United States on Feb. 16, 1995, but not ratified). United Nations rules specific to juvenile delinquency use similar language ("A juvenile is every person under the age of 18."). U.N. RULES FOR THE PROTECTION OF JUVENILES DEPRIVED OF THEIR LIBERTY, G.A. Res. 45/113, Annex, at 205, U.N. GAOR, 45th Sess., Supp. No. 49A, U.N. Doc A/45/49 (Dec. 14, 1990). The United States and Somalia are the only signatory nations that have not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNITED NATIONS TREATY COLLECTION, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en.  

The American Bar Association has recommended using 18 as the age of adulthood for decades. See, e.g., John M. Junker, Inst. Of Judicial Admin., Am. Bar Ass'n, STANDARDS RELATING TO JUVENILE DELINQUENCY & SANCTIONS 14-17 (1980).

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Patrick Griffin et al., Trying Juveniles as Adults: An Analysis of State Transfer Laws and Reporting,OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION BULLETIN (Sept. 2011), http://www.ncjj.org/pdf/Transfer_232434.pdf.  

See 705 ILCS 405/5-805(3) (authorizing discretionary transfer of youth 13 and up for any offense type, based upon a juvenile judge's determination that, based on certain criteria, it is not in the best interests of the public to proceed under the Juvenile Court Act).

Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin use the age of 17. New York and North Carolina currently set the age at 16. At least four of these states have recently introduced legislation to raise the age. Connecticut successfully raised the age to include 17-year-olds effective January 2010; Mississippi raised the age for most offenses effective July 1, 2011.Legislative Victories from 2005 to 2010 Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System, CAMPAIGN FOR YOUTH JUSTICE: STATE TRENDS 29 (2011), available at http://www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/documents/CFYJ_State_Trends_Report.pdf.

GRIFFIN, supra note 5, at 3.

Id. at 3, 7; see, e.g., CRIM. PROC. § 720.15 et seq. (N.Y.); CONN. GEN. SAT. ANN. § 54-76 (West 2011).

Expungement and court supervision are never available for any felony criminal conviction. See 730 ILCS 5/5-6-1(a)(1)(c). In Illinois, only two drug-related felony statutes provide for any judicial discretion regarding conviction. See720 ILCS 550/10; 720 ILCS570/410. For only these two types of charges, judges may issue conditional discharge sentences (which allow the court to vacate the convictions of first-time offenders of any age after successful completion of court-ordered treatment, probation, or other conditions). Convictions for all other felony types are permanent. Criminal courts cannot consider an offender's age before entering an adult felony conviction. Courts may only take age into account during sentencing, although some mandatory sentences still apply.

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The minimum age to prosecute a youth for rape was 14. Id.

Id. at 92.

David S. Tanenhaus & Steven A. Drizin, "Owing to the Extreme Youth of the Accused": The Changing Legal Response to Juvenile Homicide, 92 J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY 641, 646 (2003).

GITTENS, supra note 11, at 108.

Id. at 116.

Id. at 116-124.

People v. Ellis, 311 N.E.2d 98 (Ill. 1974); Ill.Rev.Stat., 1972 Supp., ch. 37, ¶ 702-7(1).

While juvenile court judges initially assumed the transfer power, the legislature codified this power in 1907. GITTENS, supra note 11, at 132.

TANENHAUS, supra note 15, at 647.

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The juvenile court retained jurisdiction over youth sentenced to probation until 21. Therefore, the juvenile court could have asserted jurisdiction when prosecutors charged youth on probation in criminal court. Id.


See People v. Lattimore, 199 N.E. 275, 276 (Ill. 1935).

GITTENS, supra note 11, at 156.

Id. at 155.

The juvenile crime rate decreased in the late 70s and early 80s as the Baby Boomers left adolescence, causing a drop in the juvenile population.Id.; James Alan Fox & Alex R. Piquero, Deadly Demographics: Population Characteristics and Forecasting Homicide Trends, 49 CRIME & DELIQ. 339, 344 (2003).

GITTENS, supra note 11, at 155.

Pub. Act 82-0973.

For example, "between 1985-1989, the Illinois legislature expanded automatic transfer legislation to include 15- and 16-year-olds charged with drug offenses that took place within 1,000 feet of a school or public housing." Jason Szanyi, Reforming Automatic Transfer Laws: A Success Story, CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S LAW AND POLICY (Dec. 2012), http://www.modelsforchange.net/publications/348.

While there is no consensus as to the cause of the 1990s juvenile crime rate increase, one likely cause is the unprecedented increase in offenses committed by youth aged 14-17. FOX, supra note 27, at 345.

Angela Caputo, Seventeen, CHICAGO REPORTER, Aug. 31, 2010, available at http://www.chicagoreporter.com/news/2010/08/seventeen.

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FOX, supra note 27, at 345.

Public Act 94-0574, (eff. Aug. 12, 2005).

S.B. 0458, 94th Gen. Assemb. (2005).

Jeff Long, Illinois Increases Juvenile Court Age Cutoff to 17, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Mar. 12, 2010 ("Young adults' brains really don't develop until their mid-20s, in terms of judgment, in terms of impulse control-what we would call maturity") (quoting Paula Wolff); Liza Hoffman & Alex Keefe, A Decade After Reforms, A Smarter Juvenile Court Takes Shape, MEDILL REPORTS, Mar, 12, 2009 ("What is the fundamental difference between a 16-year-old sophomore and a 17-year-old junior? . . . Any mother will tell you there isn't much of one.") (quoting Judge George Timberlake). Sen. John Cullerton commented, "These are juveniles that are still in school, most are living at home under the control of their parents, and we should treat 'em that way." IL S. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 147, 159. Rep. Art Turner stated, "Many of us remember when we were seventeen (17). There were things that you did at seventeen (17) that if you were accused of doing at later at twenty-five (25) or thirty (30), you know that that's an entirely different mind that we're working with." IL H. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 277, 200.

Chris Dettro, Juvenile Court Age Limit to Change, STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER, Feb. 16, 2009 ("Young adults sometimes make stupid mistakes . . . .The law's intent is to prevent one bad mistake, such as a theft, from haunting you for the rest of your life.") (quoting Sangamon County State's Attorney John Schmidt). Sen. John Cullerton commented, "We want [17-year-olds] to be given a chance-a second chance and avoid having . . . a record for the rest of their life." IL S. TRAN. 2005 REG. SESS. NO. 30, 246. Rep. Roger Eddy stated, "[W]e need to give those kids every possible chance we can not to be labeled, not to . . . have the feeling that they have something to carry with them for the rest of their lives that's going to affect employment, going to affect opportunities."IL H. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 277, 210.

IL H. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 277, 201 ("We're talking about our seventeen-year-olds that, as I said, those kids under eighteen (18) should be dealt with in our juvenile justice court system because that's what that system was set up for. They are much better prepared for dealing with our youth.") (statement of Rep. Art Turner).

IL S. TRAN. 2005 REG. SESS. NO. 30, 246 ("The concern over the bill, quite frankly, is the fiscal impact that it would have on certain counties.") (statement of Sen. John Cullerton).

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Id. at 247 ("The Department of Corrections has indicate (sic) that the ten-year fiscal note on this is about a hundred and twenty-six million dollars. I appreciate that some may think that that's an overblown figure, but I think they're the ones who'd be in a position to know that.") (statement of Sen. Dale Righter).

Id. (Senate passing S.B. 0458); HOUSE COMM. STATUS REPORT, 94TH GEN. ASSEMB., 194 (2008) (listing final status of S.B. 0458 as "Session Sine Die").

S.B. 2775, 95th Gen. Assemb. (2008) (enacted); IL S. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 175, 46 ("The [] bill was significant, though, and it also represented a compromise. It increases from seventeen to eighteen years the age in which offenders can be incarcerated, but it only applies to misdemeanors. That was done in an effort to accommodate the opponents, who were county governments, who felt it was going to be too costly.") (statement of Sen. John Cullerton); IL H. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 277, 204 ("[L]istening to state's attorneys and listening to the sheriffs and everybody's got a different set of numbers and you know, it depends on who you talk to around here, it goes from A to Z. And so that's why we're creating a task force to try to do this study ourselves and see what exactly what are the number of cases, how many are involved.") (statement of Rep. Arthur Turner).

Mike Wiser, State's Changes to Juvenile Age Cutoff May Raise Costs for County, ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR, Dec. 26, 2009 ("[I]t's another unfunded mandate from the state to the counties.") (quoting Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen); IL S. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 147, 160 ("I think that they're only against it-not because they think it's not a good idea, but they think it'll cost more.") (statement of Sen. John Cullerton); IL H. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 277, 205 ("We all have to represent our areas and I have received things from both Kane and Kendall Counties against this Bill and this is really concerning the cost issue.") (statement of Rep. Patricia Lindner).

Steve Stout, New Juvenile Law Packs Punch, TIMES, Dec. 25, 2009 ("As a prosecutor for more than 18 years now, I believe that, even at the young age of 17, these kids know what is right or wrong and should face the full consequences of their (criminal) actions.") (quoting LaSalle County State's Attorney Brian Towne); Mike Wiser, State's Changes to Juvenile Age Cutoff May Raise Costs for County, ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR, Dec. 26, 2009 ("When you're 17 you know what you're doing. This is just a way to give people an easy out.") (quoting Rep. Jim Sacia); IL H. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 277, 204 (Here's a seventeen-year-old individual who obviously knows the difference between right or wrong and that really is the general decision as to what we're trying to look at here. . . . So, I would urge a 'no' vote") (statement of Rep. Dennis Reboletti).

IL S. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 147, 159 ("I have reasons to believe that the cost would be very minimal.") (statement of Sen. John Cullerton); H. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 277 ("[T]here's talk about the financial aspects of this. I don't think it's. . . the numbers are. . . are as dramatic as people have said. The numbers are going to be very low.") (statement of Rep. Jim Durkin); IL H. TRAN. 2008 REG. SESS. NO. 277, 201 ("I don't think there's a dollar figure here that we can put on spending for our kids. We want to get more for their schools; let's get more to help them with another problem that's just as important and that is trying to correct the criminal justice system and the impact that it has on our seventeen-year-olds.") (statement of Rep. Art Turner).

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Ill. Pub. Act 95-1031 (eff. Feb. 10, 2009).

Ill. Pub. Act 096-1199 (eff. Jan. 1, 2011).

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Managed by the Center for Prevention Research and Development, University of Illinois

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See Graham v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2011, 2017 (2010).

See L.P. Spear, The Adolescent Brain and Age-Related Behavioral Manifestations, 24 NEUROSCIENCE & BIOBEHAV. REVS. 417, 420-29 (2000) (summarizing scientific research regarding the behavioral effects of adolescent brain development); MACARTHUR FOUNDATION RESEARCH NETWORK ON ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT & JUVENILE JUSTICE, ISSUE BRIEF 3: LESS GUILTY BY REASON OF ADOLESCENCE 2, http://www.adjj.org/downloads/6093issue_brief_3.pdf (summarizing research showing that adolescents make short-sided decisions, have poor impulse control, and are more vulnerable to peer pressure); Elizabeth Cauffman & Laurence Steinberg, (Im)Maturity of Judgment in Adolescence: Why Adolescents May Be Less Culpable Than Adults, 18 BEHAV. SCI. & L. 741,742 (2000) (examining more than 1,000 adolescents and adults and concluding that psychosocial maturity is incomplete until age 19); Elizabeth S. Scott et al., Evaluating Adolescent Decision Making in Legal Contexts, 19 LAW & HUM. BEHAV. 221, 231 (1995) (noting that adolescents place greater emphasis on the short-term benefits of their actions and discount the long-term consequences); Margo Gardner & Laurence Steinberg, Peer Influence on Risk Taking, Risk Preference and Risky Decision-Making in Adolescence and Adulthood: An Experimental Study, 41 DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOL. 625, 632 (2005) (examining 306 participants in multiple age groups and concluding that adolescents are more inclined toward risky behavior, largely due to the heightened influence of peer pressure).

See Elizabeth R. Sowell et al., Mapping Cortical Change Across the Human Life Span, 6 NATURE NEUROSCIENCE 309 (2003) ("Structural brain imaging studies in normal children and adolescents have been helpful in relating the dramatic maturation of cognitive, emotional, and social functions with the brain structures that ultimately underlie them.").

See Elizabeth R. Sowell et al., In Vivo Evidence For Post-Adolescent Brain Maturation In Frontal And Striatal Regions, 2 NATURE NEUROSCIENCE 10 (1999) (finding that the frontal lobe does not mature until the early 20s and undergoes far more change during adolescence than any other stage of life).

See Brief of Amici Curiae, American Medical Association et al. at 12, Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005) (No. 03-633). 

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See Gargi Talukder, Decision-Making Is Still a Work in Progress for Teenagers, BRAIN CONNECTION, July 2000, http://brainconnection.positscience.com/topics/?main=news-in-rev/teen-frontal (summarizing research showing that "as teenagers age into adulthood, the overall focus of brain activity seems to shift from the amygdala to the frontal lobes.").


See AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, supra note 53, at 12.

GOLDBERG, supra note 55, at 31.

Abigail A. Baird et al., Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Facial Affect Recognition in Children and Adolescents, 38 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD & ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRY 1, 1 (1999).

See Baird, A.A. Fugelsang, J.A., Bennett, C.M. What Were You Thinking?VASSAR COLLEGE, http://faculty.vassar.edu/abbaird/research/projects/goodidea.php (last visited October 3, 2012).

David Dobbs, Beautiful Brains, NAT'L GEOGRAPHIC(October 2011), available at: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/10/teenage-brains/dobbs-text.

NATIONAL JUVENILE JUSTICE NETWORK, Using Adolescent Brain Research to Inform Policy: A Guide for Juvenile Justice Advocates at 2 (Sept. 2012).


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See, e.g., Jason Chein et. al., Peers Increase Adolescent Risk Taking by Enhancing Activity in the Brain's Reward Circuitry, DEV. SCIENCE F1 (2010).

Laurence Steinberg, Juveniles on Trial, 18 CRIM. JUST. 20, 22 (Fall 2003).

See Laurence Steinberg, A Social Neuroscience Perspective on Adolescent Risk-Taking, DEV. REV. 78-106, 28 (2008).

See id.

See id.

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Graham v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2011, 2025-26 (2010) (citing "developments in psychology and brain science," showing "fundamental differences between juvenile and adult minds" and concluding that offenses committed by youth younger than 18 are "not as morally reprehensible as that of an adult."). See also Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 599 (2005) ("juveniles as a class are generally less mature, less responsible, and less fully formed than adults . . . .").

Graham, 130 S. Ct. at 2026.

Ruben C. Gur, Brain Maturation and the Execution of Juveniles, THE PA. GAZETTE, Jan.-Feb. 2005, available at http://www.upenn.edu/gazette/0105/0105expert.html.

Graham, 130 S. Ct.at 2030 ("[T]he State must . . . give defendants . . . some meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.").

Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012); J.D.B. v. North Carolina, 131 S. Ct. 2394 (2011); Graham v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2011 (2010); Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005).

Miller, 132 S. Ct. at 2465.

Compare 730 ILCS 5/3-2.5-5 (2011) (The purpose of the Department of Juvenile Justice is "to provide treatment and services through a comprehensive continuum of individualized educational, vocational, social, emotional, and basic life skills to enable youth to avoid delinquent futures and become productive, fulfilled citizens."), with AGENCY

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OVERVIEW, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, http://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/aboutus/Pages/IDOCOverview.aspx (last visited Feb. 4, 2013) ("The mission of the Department of Corrections is to protect the public from criminal offenders through a system of incarceration and supervision.").

According to the Executive Director of the American Probation and Parole Association, "low risk offenders are more likely to recidivate with too much correctional intervention than no intervention." Carl Wicklund, Probation and Parole FAQs, AM. PROB. & PAROLE ASSOC., http://www.appa-net.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?WebCode=VB_FAQ#9. An article published by the National Institute of Corrections confirms this assessment, explaining why offenders need to be given treatment commensurate with their offense level; most parole programs studied increased the likelihood that low risk offenders would recidivate-by as much as 36 percent. CHRISTOPHER T. LOWENCAMP & EDWARD J. LATESSA, NAT'L INST. OF CORR.,UNDERSTANDING THE RISK PRINCIPLE: HOW AND WHY CORRECTIONAL INTERVENTIONS CAN HARM LOW RISK OFFENDERS (2004), available at www.yourhonor.com/dwi/sentencing/RiskPrinciple.pdf.  The study also reviewed existing research on parole programs for both juvenile and adult offenders and concluded that programs targeting low risk offenders were less effective. Id.

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Edward P. Mulvey et. al., Trajectories of Desistance and Continuity in Antisocial Behavior Following Court Adjudication Among Serious Adolescent Offenders, 22 DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY 453, 470 (2010) [hereinafter Trajectories of Desistance] (challenging such assumptions as unproven rhetoric underlying juvenile justice law and policy). However, high-risk juvenile offenders gain a great deal more from services compared to low-risk juvenile offenders. See generally Randy Borum, Managing At-Risk Juvenile Offenders in the Community: Putting Evidence-Based Principles Into Practice, 19 J. CONTEMP. CRIM. JUST. 114 (2003); Karen Hennigan, et al., FINAL REPORT, FIVE YEAR OUTCOMES IN A RANDOMIZED TRIAL OF A COMMUNITY-BASED MULTI-AGENCY INTENSIVE SUPERVISION JUVENILE PROBATION PROGRAM, U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE, Grant No. 2007-JF-FX-0066 (Dec. 2010).

Kelly Richards, What Makes Juvenile Offenders Different from Adult Offenders?, 409 TRENDS & ISSUES IN CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE1, 2 fig.1 (2011), available at http://www.aic.gov.au/documents/4/2/2/%7B4227C0AD-AD0A-47E6-88AF-399535916190%7Dtandi409.pdf.

The United States Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) sponsored the study, in partnership with the National Institute of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant Number R01DA019697), the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and the Arizona State Governor's Justice Commission. Investigators for this study are Edward P. Mulvey, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh), Robert Brame, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina-Charlotte), Elizabeth Cauffman, Ph.D. (University of California-Irvine), Laurie Chassin, Ph.D. (Arizona State University), Sonia Cota-Robles, Ph.D. (Temple University), Jeffrey Fagan, Ph.D. (Columbia University), George Knight, Ph.D. (Arizona State University), Sandra Losoya, Ph.D. (Arizona State University), Alex Piquero, Ph.D. (Florida State University), Carol A. Schubert, M.P.H. (University of Pittsburgh), and Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D. (Temple University). PATHWAYS TO DESISTANCE, www.pathwaysstudy.pitt.edu/ (last visited Feb. 4, 2013).

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EDWARD P. MULVEY, U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE, HIGHLIGHTS FROM PATHWAYS TO DESISTANCE: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF SERIOUS ADOLESCENT OFFENDERS (2011), available at https://ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/230971.pdf [hereinafter OJJDP Desistance Fact Sheet].

Id. at 2.


OJJDP Desistance Fact Sheet, supra note 79; Edward P. Mulvey, et. al., Trajectories of Desistance, supra note 76.

OJJDP Desistance Fact Sheet, supra note 79, at 3.

See Ed Mulvey and Carol Shubert, "Memorandum re: Analyses of Age Groups," December 5, 2012, included at Appendix B.



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U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services, Effects on Violence of Laws and Policies Facilitating the Transfer of Youth from the Juvenile to the Adult Justice System: A Report on Recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, 56 MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY WEEKLY REPORT 1, 6 (2007), available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5609.pdf.  


Id at 6. 

Id at 4-5.

Id. at 7.

JEFFREY A. BUTTS, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, TRANSFER OF JUVENILES TO CRIMINAL COURT IS NOT CORRELATED WITH FALLING YOUTH VIOLENCE (2012), available at http://johnjayresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/databit2012_05.pdf.

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Jill M. Ward, Deterrence's Difficulty Magnified: The Importance of Adolescent Development in Assessing Deterrence Value of Transferring Juveniles to Adult Court, 7 U.C. DAVIS J. JUV. L. & POL'Y 253, 267 (2003).

Id. at 269.

Id. at 283-84.

See"Brains, Behavior, and the Law," supraat13.



U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE, NAT'L INST. OF CORR. supra note 99, at 12.

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Id. Because youth have different nutritional requirements, different health requirements, and various other specific needs with which adult facilities lack the capacity to deal, youth are inherently at greater risk in adult facilities. Id.


National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape, 77 Fed. Reg. 37,106 (June 20, 2012) (to be codified at 28 C.F.R. pt. 115). Likewise, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that youth under 18 in adult prisons have the highest sexual victimization rate of any prisoner demographic.U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE, BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS, SEXUAL VICTIMIZATION REPORTED BY FORMER STATE PRISONERS 16 tbl.8 (2008).

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, supra note 99, at 19.

U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE, NAT'L INST. OF CORR., supra note 99, at 11.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, supra note 99, at 29.

U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE, NAT'L INST. OF CORR., supra note 99, at 11.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, supra note 99, at 37, 38.

Id. at 41.

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CHRISTIAN HENRICHSON & VALERIE LEVSHIN, VERA INSTITUTE OF JUSTICE, COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF RAISING THE AGE OF JUVENILE JURISDICTION IN NORTH CAROLINA (2011), at iii-iv, available at http://www.vera.org/pubs/cost-benefit-analysis-raising-age-juvenile-jurisdiction-north-carolina (assessing "the economic impact of implementing a plan to transfer 16- and 17-year-olds who commit misdemeanor and low-level, non-violent felony offenses to the juvenile system, while keeping 16- and 17-year-old who commit serious violent felonies in the adult criminal system.").

See "Issue: Record Issue: Record-Breaking Declines in Juvenile Crime," infraat30.

VERA INSTITUTE OF JUSTICE,supra note 110, at 3.

Id. at 12-13, 15. Calculated as constants, system costs in the North Carolina study are overestimated when applied in an environment of decreasing juvenile crime, similar to the NCJJ cost analysis performed for Illinois. See NCJJ STUDY, infra note 134, and related discussion at"Predicted Effect," infra at28.

VERA INSTITUTE OF JUSTICE,supra note 110, at 17, 21.

Id. at 18.

Id. at 18-19.

Id. at 19.

Id. at 20.

Id. at 20 n.29.

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Id. at 6.

The Vera study calculated costs and benefits at recidivism reductions ranging from 0-40 percent. Id. at 37, Appendix G. The body of the report used an extremely conservative estimate (10 percent) but noted that its own broad literature review suggested a 34 percent recidivism reduction.Id. at 5. Calculations for 30 percent and 40 percent are presented here as they are more consistent with recent studies; for more on the recidivism benefits of juvenile courts over criminal courts, see "Youth in Adult Court Recidivate More," supraat21.

The salary estimate in this calculation assumes high school completion but no college, 35 years in the workforce (age 20-65), and a 72 percent employment rate across 1,586 youth with no criminal record who otherwise would have had one. Id. at 20. "A recent study finds that individuals who were convicted of an offense when young earn 13 percent less than those who were not convicted, which means that individuals with a high school degree alone earn $3,046 less a year ($32,552 x 0.13 x 0.72)." Id. The cost-benefit analysis did not adjust the youth employment benefit when calculating different recidivism rate reductions. Id. Additionally, the study calculated only gross annual pre-tax salary ($97.9M). Id. Here, taxes are separately estimated.

The effective Illinois state tax rate on the second income quintile ($18,000-$36,000) is 10.9 percent (including sales tax, excise tax, property tax, and income tax). Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States, 3d Ed. (2009) at 42, available at: http://www.itep.org/whopays3.pdf.  

In 2007, households with income in the second quintile (averaging $45,600 before-tax income) paid an average of 10.3 percent in federal taxes (income, excise, social insurance, and corporate income tax, less refundable tax credits). Congress of the United States, Congressional Budget Office, The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2008 and 2009 (July 2012) at 11.

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Harry Holzer, Collateral Costs: Effects of Incarceration on Employment and Earnings Among Youth Workers, inDO PRISONS MAKE US SAFER? THE BENEFITS AND COSTS OF THE PRISON BOOM 239, 240, 263 (Steven Raphael and Michael Stoll eds., 2009); SAM ALLGOOD, DAVID B. MUSTARD, & RONALD S. WARREN, JR.,THE IMPACT OF YOUTH CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR ON ADULT EARNINGS(2003).

THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS, COLLATERAL COSTS: INCARCERATION'S EFFECT ON ECONOMIC MOBILITY 4 (2010), available at http://www.pewstates.org/uploadedFiles/PCS_Assets/2010/Collateral_Costs(1).pdf.

HOLZER, supra note 125, at 242.


THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS, supra note 126, at 3.

Id., at 20.

Collateral effects also include broad economic benefits stemming from violent crime reduction. In 2010, violent crimes cost U.S. citizens more than $42 billion in direct costs, which include the cost of police, courts and correctional facilities, medical expenses for victims, and lost earnings for both victims and their convicted assailants. Robert J. Shapiro and Kevin A. Hasset, The Economic Benefits of Reducing Violent Crime: A Case Study of 8 American Cities, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS iv (June 2012), http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/06/pdf/violent_crime.pdf.  In Chicago, the annual direct cost of violent crime is $1.1 billion and pain and suffering to victims is another $4.2 billion.Id. Reducing violent crime by 25 percent in Chicago would save over $1.5 billion in direct and indirect costs while adding $5.5 billion to property values.Id. at iv-v.

See Washington State Institute for Public Policy, Return on Investment: Evidence-Based Options to Improve Statewide Outcomes (Apr. 2012), http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/12-04-1201.pdf.

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Id. at 2, 6.

Id. at 5.

First, and most significantly, the NCJJ study used data from 2000-2004 and assumed that youth crime and system practices would remain constant, but these were in rapid flux, with diversion options growing at the same time arrests declined. Second, the report included several offenses, such as murder and forcible rape, which are excluded from juvenile jurisdiction. NCJJ STUDY, supra note 134, at 3. Third, the study relied primarily on federal classifications rather than Illinois agency data sources, so its projections could not reasonably be used for any agency budgeting or planning. For example, NCJJ estimated that the number of "committed juveniles" would increase from 1,932 to 2,410. Id. at 9. The federal statistic for this projection includes some (but not all) youth in county detention centers as well as state (IDJJ) facilities. For the federal definition of "committed" see OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION, Easy Access to the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement: 1997-2010, http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezacjrp/asp/glossary.asp#Placement.

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Of course, the NCJJ study estimated the effect of adding both felonies and misdemeanors, while Illinois eventually raised the age only for 18,000 misdemeanor arrests, leaving the question of roughly 4,000 felony arrests open until now. Still, it is important to note that the estimates of misdemeanor impact were inaccurate; using the same methodology to predict felony impacts on the system will also produce unreliable results. Adding 17-year-old felons to the juvenile system will certainly not have the impact on the juvenile system's workload as estimated-in large part because the juvenile system's existing workload is simply far lower than it was in 2003-2005.

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Jeffrey A. Butts, Violent Youth Crime Plummets to a 30-year Low, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: DATABITS, (Nov. 2, 2012), available at http://johnjayresearch.org/rec/files/2012/11/databit201211.pdf.

Through its Uniform Crime Reporting systems, the FBI collects and measures offenses known to law enforcement; in 2011, the violent crime rate was 21.9 percent lower than 2002 while the property crime rate was down 19.9 percent. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Crime in the United States 2011 (Oct. 2012). The National Crime Victim Survey measures crime by surveying individuals to assess victimization; it therefore captures crimes that have and have not been reported to police. BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS, U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE,Criminal Victimization 2011 (Oct. 2012) "Since 1993, the rate of violent crime has declined by 72 percent from 79.8 to 22.5 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older." Id.

For at least thirteen consecutive years, violent and property crime rates in Cook County as well as the rest of the state of Illinois have steadily declined. ILLINOIS STATE POLICE, Report:Crime Trends(2009), available at http://www.isp.state.il.us/docs/cii/cii09/cii09_Section_I_Pg9_to_26.pdf.  The statewide total index offense rate was 28 percent lower in 2007 than it was a decade prior, while violent offense rates dropped dramatically in Cook County compared to the rest of the state-by 44 percent. Christine Devitt, Erica Hughes, & Idetta Phillips, Illinois Crime and Criminal Justice Trends: 1997-2007, RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS UNIT OF ILLINOIS CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION

Page 30:

AUTHORITY (Mar. 2009) available at http://www.icjia.org/public/pdf/TIUpdate/Web%20Edition%20CRIME%20TRENDS%20032509.pdf.  It is obviously impossible to tell whether a crime decrease applies to juveniles until an arrest is made, but juvenile arrests in Illinois and in Chicago have also been decreasing over this same period (see figure).

Beyond simply complying with the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, the IJJC pursues "many activities designed to strengthen the juvenile justice system." ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission Annual Report to the Governor and General Assembly2009-2010, http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=55604.  Recent activities include: pursuing juvenile justice data collection; promoting better access to counsel; exploring better detention alternatives; improving mental health screening, services and facility upgrades; combating domestic battery; and developing reentry services supported by the members of a new state job position, Youth and Family Specialist. Id.

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705 ILCS 405/5-405 (1999). In misdemeanor cases, the youth officer may also be authorized to release the youth without charge. Id. The youth officer serves as a physical guardian of the minor throughout police custody, ensuring that the youth's physical person is protected and that other police officers are not improperly using the age of the minor against him to obtain a confession. In re Marvin M., 890 N.E.2d 984, 1003 (Ill.App. 2 Dist. 2008).

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This is a phenomenon known as cognitive bias, an error in judgment caused by memory, preconceived notions, or other social factors. Cognitive bias occurs "because people tend to see what they expect to see, and this typically affects their decision in cases of ambiguity." AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, ABA STANDARDS FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE: DNA EVIDENCE 67 (3d ed. 2007). Premature decision-making results in "distorted judgments and faulty analyses," affecting the course of criminal investigations. Dr. Kim Rossmo, Failures in Criminal Investigation, 76 THE POLICE CHIEF 54, 56 (Oct. 2009). "Officers consciously or unconsciously need to come up with a theory of the case that makes sense. Once that is done, there can be a tendency to have tunnel vision. Other leads or avenues that do not fit into this theory may be ignored or are viewed in the light of confirmatory bias." Michael D. Ranalli, Wrongful Convictions and Officer Safety: Shifting the Focus to the Process, 79 THE POLICE CHIEF 26, 29 (Jan. 2012). Avoiding premature decisions counteracts bias; when there is "reliable and adequate data, and time for proper analysis, reasoning produces the most accurate results." ROSSMO, supra,at 56.

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Another 25 percent opposed including felony youth; the rest were neutral.

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Page 35:  

705 ILCS 405/5-301 (1999). Station adjustments may be formal or informal and may carry conditions such as curfew, geographic restrictions, no-contact orders, school attendance, community service, mediation, peer court, and restitution. Id.

For an example of police-run screening and outcomes, see JISC Data, Appendix C.

705 ILCS 405/5-305 (2001).

See, e.g., LEE COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY OFFICE, Second Chance Deferral Program, http://www.leecountyil.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50&Itemid=243 (last visited Feb.)


6, 2013); KANE COUNTYSTATE'S ATTORNEY OFFICE, Second Chance, http://saopublic.co.kane.il.us/Pages/SecondChance.aspx (last visited Feb. 6, 2013).

720 ILCS 570/402(c) (2010).

National Alliance on Mental Illness, State Mental Health Cuts: The Continuing Crisis (Nov. 2011) at http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=state_budget_cuts_report.

Page 37:

Page 38:

705 ILCS 405/5-805(1)-(3) (2007). For youth 16 and under, only automatic transfer crimes may be transferred to criminal court without a judicial hearing. Compared to the large swath of borderline misdemeanor/felony crimes cited by interviewees, automatic transfer crimes are incredibly clear-cut: first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery with a firearm. 705 ILCS 405/5-130(1)(a) (2001).

705 ILCS 405/5-805(1) (2007).

705 ILCS 405/5-805(2)-(3) (2007).

Relocating the jurisdiction decision point to indictment (rather than transfer) and the decision-maker to state's attorneys (rather than judges) is procedurally equivalent to the minority of states (15) that permit prosecutors to "direct file" youth charges in adult court, a mechanism otherwise disallowed in Illinois. GRIFFIN, supra note 5, at 3.

705 ILCS 405/5-805 (2007).

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705 ILCS 405/5-525 (1999).

"Although the presence of a youth officer does not per se make a juvenile's confession voluntary, it is a significant factor. The failure to have a juvenile officer present is material to determining the voluntariness of defendant's statement. The presence or absence of a parent is also a factor in evaluating the voluntary nature of a confession. The relevant inquiry is whether the absence of an adult interested in the defendant's welfare contributed to the coercive circumstances surrounding the interview, not whether contact with a parent was denied." In re A.R., 693 N.E.2d 869, 874 (Ill.App. 1 Dist. 1998)(internal citations omitted).

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In 2010, more than 80 percent of felony cases disposed of in the Circuit Courts of Illinois were resolved through the defendant pleading guilty. ILLINOIS SENTENCING POLICY ADVISORY COUNCIL, RESEARCH BRIEFING UPDATE ILLINOIS FELONY SENTENCING: A RETROSPECTIVE 4 (2012), http://www.icjia.org/spac/pdf/A%20Retrospective.%20March2012.pdf.

Angela Caputo, Minor Misconduct, CHICAGO REPORTER (Nov.1, 2012), http://www.chicagoreporter.com/news/2010/08/seventeen "The crime category that saw the biggest increase since the law changed was felony theft, which grew by 77 percent. In 2010, it surpassed drugs as the No. 1 reason that 17-year-olds were convicted of felonies." Id. Felony arrests of 17-year-olds in Cook County in 2011 were roughly the same as before the age was raised (dropping by less than 1 percent from 2009 to 2011). Source: ICJIA juvenile arrest data. Yet even as felony arrestsremained stable, felony convictions increased to a 5-year-high, jumping 17.5 percent between 2009-2011 (772 to 907). CAPUTO, supra. Inability to plead to lesser offenses could account for this disparity.

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705 ILCS 405/5-410 (2011).

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The extended age is due to lengthy supervision on probation. While juvenile parole can last only until a youth turns 21, juvenile probation for some offenses lasts for five years. Depending on the length of the adjudication process, a youth receiving five years of probation for an incident committed at 17 could be on juvenile probation at 23. Related jurisdictional policies vary.

705 ILCS 405/5-410(C)(5) (2011).

Page 43-46: 

Page 47

See "Issue: Community-Based Service Funding and Availability," supraat40.

Another 14 percent were neutral or took no position.

Page 48:

705 ILCS405/5-715 (2013).

The mandatory minimum period of probation for first-degree murder applies only to children 12 and under. Youth aged 13-14 who are adjudicated delinquent for first-degree murder must instead be incarcerated in a Department of Juvenile Justice facility for a minimum of five years. 705 ILCS405/5-750(2012).Alternatively, youth aged 13 and 14 may be prosecuted and sentenced as adults in certain circumstances. 705 ILCS405/5-130 (2011). Youth aged 15 and older facing first-degree murder charges are always tried as adults. Id.


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720 ILCS5/2-8 (2012). For application see generally People v. Hickman, 59 Ill. 2d 89 (1974).

See, e.g., 720 ILCS 59-1 (2011).

720 ILCS5/2-8 (2012). Forcible felonies are defined as: "treason, first degree murder, second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated kidnaping, kidnaping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual." Id.

730 ILCS5/5-4.5-30(d) (2012) (Class 1: 4 years); 730 ILCS5/5-4.5-35(d) (2012) (Class 2: 4 years); 730 ILCS5/5-4.5-40(d) (2012) (Class 3: 2.5 years); 730 ILCS5/5-4.5-45(d) (2012) (Class 4: 2.5 years). Class X felonies are nonprobationable. 730 ILCS5/5-4.5-25(d) (2012).

705 ILCS405/5-101(1)(c) (1987).

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705 ILCS405/5-715(1) (2013) ("The period of probation or conditional discharge shall not exceed 5 years or until the minor has attained the age of 21 years, whichever is less, except as provided in this Section for a minor who is found to be guilty for an offense which is first degree murder, a Class X felony or a forcible felony. The juvenile court may terminate probation or conditional discharge and discharge the minor at any time if warranted by the conduct of the minor and the ends of justice; provided, however, that the period of probation for a minor who is found to be guilty for an offense which is first degree murder, a Class X felony, or a forcible felony shall be at least 5 years.").

705 ILCS405/5-710(1)(a)(i) (2010).

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705 ILCS405/5-701 (2004).


Note that there are new, particular factors the court must consider before commitment to DJJ. 705 ILCS405/5-750(1)(b)(2012).

See"Issue: Service Funding and Availability," infra at 37.

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ILLINOIS JUVENILE JUSTICE COMMISSION, YOUTH REENTRY IMPROVEMENT REPORT (Nov. 2011), http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=58025.

Illinois houses over 49,000 inmates in a system designed to support only 34,000. JOHN HOWARD ASSOCIATION OF ILLINOIS, http://www.thejha.org/sb2621 (last visited on Feb. 6, 2013) (citing IDOC population data; updated 6/22/12); John Maki, Illinois' Rendezvous with Prison Overcrowding, CHICAGO SUN TIMES, Mar. 2, 2012, at 24. As a result, the Illinois Department of Corrections is dangerously overcrowded and medium and minimum-security facilities bear the brunt of it; hundreds of minimum security inmates are housed in dilapidated dormitories, gymnasiums, and flooded basements. Id. Just how overcrowded are these prisons? Vienna, Illinois' worst offender, is designed to hold 685 inmates, yet as of September 2011, housed nearly 1,900 people, 260 percent of design capacity. JOHN HOWARD ASSOCIATION OF ILLINOIS, MONITORING VISIT TO VIENNA CORRECTIONAL FACILITY 6 (Sept. 27, 2011). Such overcrowding not only exacerbates violent and criminal behavior among prisoners, creating a dangerous environment for inmates and staff, but it also may trigger constitutional issues. The U.S. Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment has been applied to prison overcrowding in California, forcing the state to alleviate its overcrowded prisons by releasing more than 30,000 inmates. MAKI, supra. Some Illinois facilities are themselves teetering on the edge of constitutionality-as evidenced by a June 2012 class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Illinois' Vienna Correctional Center inmates, claiming human rights abuses worse than those in California. Complaint, Boyd v. Godinez, (S.D. Ill. 2012) (No. 3:2012cv00704).

ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, SHERIDAN CORRECTIONAL CENTER, http://www2.illinois.gov/idoc/facilities/Pages/sheridancorrectionalcenter.aspx (last visited Feb. 6, 2013).

Page 53: 

705 ILCS 405/5-301(3) (1999); 20 ILCS2630/5 (2010).

Page 54:

705 ILCS 405/5-915 (2010).

20 ILCS 2630/5.2 (2013).

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ILLINOIS DISPROPORTIONATE JUSTICE IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION, FINAL REPORT 14, 30 (Dec. 2010) (noting that while drug use does not vary significantly by race, over twice as many non-whites are arrested for drug charges than whites).

Id. at 3, 4, 15 (noting that African Americans are arrested at a higher rate than whites relative to their representation in the general population, are 1.8 times more likely to be prosecuted for a crime, and are 23 times more likely to be incarcerated for a drug offense).

42 U.S.C. § 5633(a)(22) (2006); 42 U.S.C. § 5661(a)(1)(B)(viii) (2006).

See, e.g., Elizabeth Cauffman, Does the Use of Formal Guidelines for Dispositional Decision-Making Reduce Disproportionate Minority Contact?, MODELS FOR CHANGE, http://www.modelsforchange.net/about/research/piquero.html  (last visited Feb. 6, 2013).

Page 56:

CAPUTO, supra note 159.

Estimate of 17-year-old population in 2011. Puzzanchera, C., et al, Easy Access to Juvenile Populations: 1990-2011, U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE (2012), available at: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezapop.

2008 Ill. Legis. Serv. P.A. 95-1031 (S.B. 2275) (West).

Page 57: 

PREA imposes three new requirements for housing minors in adult prisons: 1) agencies must place youth in a housing unit separated by sight, sound, and physical contact with any adult inmate, including shared and common spaces such as showers, dayrooms, and sleeping quarters; 2) in areas outside of housing units, agencies must maintain sight and sound separation between youth and adults, or provide direct staff supervision of youth, and; 3) agencies must make the "best efforts" to avoid placing youth in isolation to comply with this requirement and if youth are isolated, facilities may not deny youth large muscle exercise and special education services absent "exigent circumstances." National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape, 77 Fed. Reg. 37,106 (June 20, 2012) (to be codified at 28 C.F.R. pt. 115).

See Safety Benefits at 22-23.

Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86, 100-01 (1958) ("[T]he words of the [Eighth] Amendment [prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment] are not precise, and . . . their scope is not static. The Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.").

Page 58: 

ILLINOIS JUVENILE JUSTICE INITIATIVE,CHANGING COURSE: A REVIEW OF THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF DRUG TRANSFER REFORM IN ILLINOIS (June 2008) (analyzing the effects of legislation that removed automatic transfer for drug crimes and accountability-related charges of aggravated battery with a firearm). After reform, drug crimes were still transferrable under presumptive transfer laws, but once they became subject to judicial review in juvenile court, far fewer cases were transferred to adult court and some of the racially disparate impact of drug laws considered the "most racially biased" in the country also decreased. Id at 4.

See"Number of 17-Year-Old Arrests Since 2005," Data Charts, Appendix D.

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Counties in bold typeface house 8 of the state's 17 juvenile detention centers.

After an invitation was sent to the State's Attorney in this county, the Governor appointed him a member of this Commission. No responses from his office are included in this report.