Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission Annual Report 2011-2012

Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission (IJJC)
Annual Report to the Governor and General Assembly
2011 - 2012

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This report is submitted in accordance with the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission's statutory responsibility to submit an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly. This report highlights the State's accomplishments in 2011 and 2012, the most urgent challenges relative to juvenile justice in Illinois, and the Commission's recommendations for addressing those issues.

The Illinois juvenile justice system is complex and comprehensive, spanning from law enforcement's first contact with a young person to the "deep end" of the system, including the state's juvenile prisons and aftercare programs. This system is composed of hundreds of municipalities and counties - each with its own law enforcement agencies - as well as State Police; a court system that includes 23 judicial circuits; detention facilities, probation departments, elected state's attorneys, public defenders and private attorneys from 102 counties; Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice prisons housing fewer than 1,000 youth and employing aftercare specialists to assist with their return to their home communities; and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, which sets conditions of release for juveniles.

The system also is impacted by the work of the state's public and private schools; neighborhood-based organizations; state agencies delivering services to families in need; and dozens of private social service organizations that provide crisis intervention, counseling, and other aid.

There is no single person or agency responsible for what happens or doesn't happen in the juvenile justice system. It is this complicated and critical network of individuals and agencies comprising the "juvenile justice system" which the Commission is charged to analyze, support, and improve.

The membership of the Commission includes representatives of many of the individual components of the juvenile justice system (see membership list on page 7) as well as community members, youth advocates, and policy experts. The Commission administers the state's federal juvenile justice funding and serves as an advisor to those who set and carry out policy in Illinois state government.

The Commission's measures of an effective juvenile justice system are:

  • Young people and families do not enter the juvenile justice system unnecessarily and instead receive community-based support and services for mental health, substance abuse, education, trauma or other needs and have meaningful opportunities for positive development and well-being;
  • Young people and families who do enter the juvenile justice system receive individualized developmentally-appropriate, rehabilitative services which address their underlying risks and needs as well as build on positive assets and strengths and enhance public safety; and
  • Young people and families leave the juvenile justice system on a path toward positive life outcomes.

With those three goals in mind, Illinois can maximize the resources devoted to the system; improve public safety; and - most important - change the behavior of youth before they are locked into an unknown but possibly destructive future of violence, prison, and an early death.

Letter from George W. Timberlake, Chair

Greetings:

I'm pleased to present the 2012 Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission Annual Report to the citizens of Illinois.

Although only a small percentage of the state's population ever comes in contact with the juvenile justice system, all of us are impacted by it in one way or another. Our public safety, of course, is affected by the workings of the system, and it runs on our tax dollars - from street patrols and investigations to rehabilitative services and incarceration. And, most important, the futures of tens of thousands of children depend in part on whether we're able to help them correct bad behaviors and change the trajectory of their lives.

Much has happened in recent years to improve the juvenile justice system in Illinois, and this report explains some of the advances that have contributed to a drop in crimes committed by young people, as well as the Commission's recommendations for added improvements. We're pleased to have been able to encourage greater use of best practices and decision-making influenced by quality research and accurate data.

Readers of this report should note that the vast majority of young people in conflict with the law receive interventions, sanctions and services in the community or on probation caseloads, for example. Much of this report, however, discusses the Commission's analysis of the "deep end" of the Illinois juvenile justice system, with a particular focus on the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and the state's juvenile parole and aftercare systems. In our role as an advisor to the Governor and the General Assembly, the Commission was asked last year to study the state's juvenile reentry system and recommend ways to reduce the percentage of juveniles leaving prison only to return again. The recommendations contained in the Commission's "Youth Reentry Improvement Report," which is explained later in the annual report and available on our website, are now being implemented or considered by elected leaders and policy makers in the juvenile justice system.

At the direction of the Governor and the General Assembly, the Commission soon will issue a research report with recommendations about extending juvenile court jurisdiction to youth age 17 charged with felony offenses and a report on the effective treatment and supervision of juvenile offenders who are adjudicated delinquent for a sex offense.

The work of the Commission takes into account a range of diverse perspectives and the growing body of research and knowledge on "what works" to improve youth outcomes and well-being and improve long-term community safety. We value opportunities to work with state and local policy makers and practitioners in Illinois who share these critical goals. We hope this annual report will improve understanding of how the juvenile justice system works and the steps being taken to make it work better.

Sincerely,

George W. Timberlake
Chair

Introduction to the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission

Twenty-five Governor-appointed volunteers and professionals in the field of juvenile justice make up the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission. The Commission advises the Governor, the General Assembly and the Illinois Department of Human Services on policies and practices related to the Illinois juvenile justice system.

The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission is designated as the state advisory group (SAG) to work in partnership with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) requires every state to establish a SAG. The Commission develops and implements a three-year JJDPA plan and administers federal grant funds under the JJDPA's Title II Formula Grants Program and Title V Community Prevention Grants Program. Beginning in 2013, the Commission will also administer the state's federal Juvenile Accountability Block Grant programs.

The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission supports and seeks long-term systemic improvement toward the following goals:

  • Illinois must remain in full compliance with the core requirements of the JJDPA. This is important to ensure continued access to federal funding, but more importantly, it will ensure application of humane and effective practices with youth in contact with the juvenile justice system.
  • No youth and families will enter or penetrate deeply into the juvenile justice system unnecessarily. When possible, they should receive community-based support and resources to meet their needs, build strengths and prevent them from growing up in the juvenile justice system.
  • Those youth entering the juvenile justice system will receive developmentally appropriate and effective services, supervision and support.
  • Youth leaving the juvenile justice system will have skills and strengths and the supportive aftercare services to help them succeed.

All of those improvements to the juvenile justice system also will enhance public safety.

The key strategies to accomplish these goals include:

  • Policy -- Research, data analysis and reporting should guide the development of effective and evidence-based juvenile justice policy in Illinois.
  • Practice -- By strengthening and creating new collaborative efforts with the many participants in the juvenile justice system and by helping with training and technical assistance, the Commission can foster the implementation of effective, evidence-based practices.
  • Programs -- The Commission will support continued research, implementation of innovative models, the diffusion of effective programs, and the development of best practices on emerging issues.

Members of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission

Rodney Ahitow, Cuba

Julie Biehl, Chicago

Arthur D. Bishop, Maywood

Jacqueline Bullard, Decatur

Shelley Davie, Chicago

Veronica Dixon, Chicago

Eugene Griffin, Skokie

George Hill, Forsythe

Toni Irving, Chicago

Arnetra Jackson, Chicago

Lisa Jacobs, Wheaton

Edward Rangel, Chicago

Patrick Nelson, Chicago

Pamela Rodriguez, Elk Grove Village

Michael Rodriguez, Chicago

Ben Roe, Rochelle

Randell Strickland, Chicago

George Timberlake, Mt. Vernon

Rick Velasquez, Oak Park

Ethan Viets-VanLear, Chicago

Dana Weiner, Chicago

The Commission also recognizes and thanks the following Illinoisans who volunteered their time and expertise as members of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission in 2011-2012:

Name
City
Years Served
Roseanna Ander 
Evanston
2
Marcus Cammon
Chicago
2
Patricia Connell
Evanston
26
Edith Crigler
Chicago
2
Demarco Diggs
Chicago
2
Debra Ferguson
Chicago
2
Rev. Charles Jenkins
Chicago
1
Karina Martinez
Berwyn
2
Edwin Reyes
Chicago
1
Wayne Straza
Countryside
25

Illinois Juvenile Justice System at a Glance

Much of the data for this report originally appeared in the publication "Juvenile Justice System and Risk Factor Data for Illinois: 2008 Annual Report," an analysis of juvenile crime problems and needs, authorized and paid for by the Commission and published by ICJIA. Some of the data has been updated by ICJIA for this Commission annual report. Throughout this report, the most recent data available has been used wherever possible.

In Illinois, juvenile court jurisdiction originates for youth who are alleged to have committed misdemeanor offenses prior to their 17th birthdays. A felony offense committed after a youth turns 17 places that youth under the jurisdiction of the adult criminal justice system. Juveniles below age 17 also can be transferred to adult court in connection with certain felony charges.

RECOMMENDATION: For a variety of reasons, including the large number of local jurisdictions coming in contact with juveniles and years of funding difficulties, Illinois does not have an up-to-date and coordinated data system to receive and analyze information about juveniles in the system from the point of first contact with police through adjudication and parole. This lack of timely and accurate data impedes policymakers' decision-making ability. In addition, the lack of statewide data jeopardizes a portion of Illinois' federal funding. The Commission is committed to enhancing the collection and analysis of data with the cooperation of all parts of the system.

Arrests

In 2011, there were 34,300 arrests of youth ages 10 to 16 years old, a 19.5 percent decrease from 2009. Some of those arrests involved the same youth arrested more than once, and some youth taken into police custody are not reported to the state. Many of those arrested are released without going deeper into the system. Although collection of data about youth crimes and rehabilitation has improved in recent years, it is impossible to know exactly how many Illinois youth come in contact with the juvenile justice system each year.

Despite the data limitations, it is clear that the number of reported arrests of youth aged 10 to 16 continues to decline. In 2011, youth arrests were the lowest in a decade and 31 percent lower than the 2005 statewide high. Reasons cited for this record low include declining crime, declining youth population, increased emphasis on diversion, changes in arrest reporting, and changes in policing practice.

Number of reported arrests of youth ages 10 to 16, Statewide, 2000-2011

Number of Reported Arrests of Youth ages 10 to 16, Statewide, 2000-2011

The number of reported arrests of youth aged 10 to 16 continues to decline.  In 2011, youth arrests were the lowest in a decade and 31 percent lower than the 2005 statewide high. Graph Source: ICJIA analysis of CHRI data

Detention

After taking a youth into custody, a police officer must decide whether to release the youth to a parent or guardian, or whether the youth needs to be placed in a detention facility because the youth could be a flight risk or could be a danger to the community or him/herself. Only youth 10 years of age or older can be held in a detention center.

Similar to youth arrests, average daily detention center population is the lowest in a decade. As of calendar year 2012, statewide average daily detention population is 32 percent lower than the 2005 average daily population.  As a result, the regional detention centers are operating below capacity.

Population Trend, Statewide Detention Centers

Population Trend, Statewide Detention Centers 2003-2012

As of calendar year 2012, statewide average daily detention population is 32 percent lower than the 2005 average daily population.

Regional Detention Center Population and Capacity

Regional Detention Center Population and Capacity
Illustrating Regional Detention Centers are operating below capacity in Cook, Other Northern, Central and Southern regions in calendar year 2012. 

Delinquency Petitions

Following an arrest, youth either are released without filing any charges or the county state's attorney files a delinquency petition alleging violation or attempted violation of a law or ordinance.

From 2000 to 2010, the number of new delinquency petitions filed in Illinois increased by 8 percent (from 22,645 to 24,472) and remained relatively stable in 2011 (24,370). Petition numbers prior to 2010 do not include 17-year-olds; petition numbers for 2010 and 2011 (after the law took effect raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction for misdemeanants) also include 17-year-old misdemeanants.

Number of Statewide Juvenile Petitions (all ages), 2005-2011

Number of Statewide Juvenile Petitions (all ages), 2005-2011

From 2000 to 2010, the number of new delinquency petitions filed in Illinois increased by 8 percent; from 22,645 to 24,472. 

Adjudications

When a youth has been found guilty or entered a guilty plea in the juvenile court system, the case is considered to have been "adjudicated delinquent."

The data available about adjudication is illustrative of the deficiencies of data collection in the juvenile justice system. A comparison between the number of cases adjudicated delinquent in 2000 (9,357 cases) and the cases adjudicated delinquent in 2010 (4,883) shows a 48 percent decrease, and the rate of adjudications of delinquency per 100,000 decreased. However, the data cannot give a complete picture of what happened because Cook County adjudication data were not reported to the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts from 2006 through 2010.

Adjudication numbers prior to 2010 include only youth 16 and under; the adjudication total for 2010 also includes 17-year-old misdemeanants.

Number of Statewide Delinquency Adjudications (all ages), 2005-2010

Number of Statewide Delinquency Adjudications (all ages), 2005-2010

A comparison between the number of cases adjudicated delinquent in 2000 (9,357 cases) and the cases adjudicated delinquent in 2010 (4,883) shows a 48 percent decrease, and the rate of adjudications of delinquency per 100,000 decreased.

Probation

Probation departments in Illinois provide services to youth adjudicated delinquent. While on supervision, the youth must meet specific conditions, such as attending counseling sessions, returning to school, abiding by curfew or completing community service work. The case is dismissed if the youth successfully completes the provisions of his or her supervision.

From 2000 to 2011, there was a 32 percent decline in standard juvenile probation cases, from 12,221 to 8,320 cases. The rate per 100,000 youth decreased 25 percent from 2000-2010, the last year per capita data was available.

Illinois also provides for "informal" probation. It is offered to youth suspected of having committed a crime and allows them an opportunity to avoid adjudication and deeper involvement in the juvenile justice system. If the youth on informal probation successfully fulfills the conditions of his or her probation, the case is not pursued.

As with the formal probation, there has been a significant drop in the number of informal cases. Informal probation cases statewide decreased 19 percent from 2,227 in 2000 to 1,795 in 2011. The rate per 100,000 youth on informal probation fell 23 percent between 2000-2010, the last year per capita data was available.

Number of Youth on Probation Statewide (all ages), 2005-2011

Number of Youth on Probation Statewide (all ages), 2005-2011

From 2000 to 2011, there was a 32 percent decline in standard juvenile probation cases, from 12,221 to 8,320 cases. The rate per 100,000 youth decreased 25 percent from 2000-2010, the last year per capita data was available.

Youth Prisons

In 2006, a new law removed the juvenile division from the Illinois Department of Corrections and created a stand-alone Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ). The move was made in recognition of the need to treat youth offenders different from adult defenders and to do more to attempt to rehabilitate youth (at least 13 years old) adjudicated delinquent of the most serious crimes and sent to the state government for incarceration.

In 2010-2011, IDJJ operated eight prisons (Illinois Youth Centers or IYCs) in Chicago, Joliet, St. Charles, Harrisburg, Kewanee, Pere Marquette, Murphysboro and Warrenville. (IYC-Murphysboro officially closed in January 2013, and IYC-Joliet closed the following month.)

Unlike the adult prison system, the juvenile system is not overcrowded. The drop in the number of youth incarcerated in state prisons can be traced to a dramatic drop in juvenile crime and increased efforts to rehabilitate young people in their home communities where rehabilitation can be most successful.

The excess capacity at the IYCs has created inefficiencies, and this Commission has supported the closure of the youth prisons in Joliet and Murphysboro.

The eight IYCs had a combined capacity to house 1,754 youth, but the population at the end of 2012 was just over 900 youth.

IDJJ Total Population

IDJJ Total Population

The eight IYCs had a combined capacity to house 1,754 youth, but the population at the end of 2012 was just over 900 youth.

In FY10, 2,162 youth were admitted to one of the state youth prisons, a 19 percent decrease from the 2,662 admitted in FY05. Of those admissions, 1,243 were for new adjudications, and the remaining 919 were for technical violations or, in instances of juveniles sentenced as adults, for violations of mandatory supervised release (MSR).

About 50 percent of all admissions to IDJJ in FY10 were youth between ages 13 and 16, and the other 50 percent were youth between the ages of 17 and 20. (Youth over 17 may be committed to IDJJ for offenses they committed prior to their 17th birthdays or for technical violations of juvenile parole.)

Number of Admissions to IDJJ by Type of Offense in FFY2011

Number of Admissions to IDJJ by Type of Offense in FY2011

The pie chart above shows all new admissions (1,171) to IDJJ by type of offense in FY11.  Source:  ICJIA interpretation of IDJJ data

The pie chart above shows all new admissions (1,171) to IDJJ by type of offense in FY11. Youth committing property offenses comprised the largest percentage (44 percent) of IDJJ admissions, while person offenses comprised the next largest percentage (34.6 percent). Weapons and drug offenses accounted for just over and just under 8 percent of the new admissions to IDJJ, respectively.

Unlike adult prisoners serving a sentence of a specific length, juveniles in Illinois are given indeterminate sentences. A youth can remain in prison until his or her 21st birthday. If released before age 21, juveniles can be kept on parole until age 21. However, a juvenile may not be incarcerated for a longer time period than an adult who committed the same offense. Juveniles sentenced as adults often remain in a youth prison until their 17th birthdays when they are transferred to an adult IDOC prison. They can remain in an IDJJ facility until their 21st birthday if IDJJ determines that it is in the best interest of the youth.

Parole

Between FY2000 and FY2010, the number of youth released from IDJJ on parole or MSR has fluctuated; however, overall, the number of youth released on parole has dropped. In FY2010, 1,565 youth were released on parole/MSR from IDJJ facilities. This represents 17 percent decline from the 1,874 released in FY2000 and a 28 percent decrease from the 2,181 released in FY05.

Number of Youth ages 13 to 20 Released on Parole/MSR, by Region of Release, FY2000 - FY2010

Number of Youth ages 13 to 20 Released on Parole or MSR

In FY2010, 1,565 youth were released on parole/MSR from IDJJ facilities. This represents 17 percent decline from the 1,874 released in FY2000 and a 28 percent decrease from the 2,181 released in FY05.

Issued in December 2011, the Commission's "Youth Reentry Improvement Report" found that the juvenile justice system did little to prepare youth and families for the youths' return home; paroled youth rarely received needed services or school linkages and too often are returned to youth prison due to technical parole violations; and Prisoner Review Board (PRB) parole revocation proceedings are largely perfunctory hearings where the youth's due process rights are not protected.

Since the issuance of the report in December 2011, significant improvements have been made, particularly in the area of aftercare services to youth and families (see pages 20-24 of this annual report), and the Commission continues to monitor reentry and advocate for improvements called for in the report (www.ihjjc.illinois.gov/reentryimprovementreport).

Recidivism

A recent research publication titled "Juvenile Recidivism in Illinois: Exploring Youth Re-arrest & Re-incarceration" published in ICJIA Research Publications, demonstrated that data on juvenile recidivism in Illinois is lacking in some areas. For example, convictions and other court data are not reliably reported to a statewide database. Instead, court data that links particular convictions with individual juveniles must be collected from each county or circuit court and compiled into a single matched dataset, requiring extensive resources and producing a potentially unreliable data set.

Unlike previous recidivism studies, the ICJIA recidivism research examined youth admitted to IDJJ facilities, and followed them into their adulthood. The study found that, for the vast majority of youth, recidivism plummeted once they had been out of IDJJ facilities for a year or more. Youth who managed to stay out of the system for the first year stood a good chance of staying out of the system permanently. ICJIA's recidivism study can be found here: http://www.icjia.state.il.us/public/pdf/researchreports/idjj_recidivism_delinquents_082012.pdf

Spotlight on Innovations and Improvements

Community Alternatives to Incarceration

It is important to note that most youth who enter the juvenile justice system receive sanctions and/or services in the community, through formal or informal diversion programs, a term of probation, or other mandated activities. A small portion of justice-involved youth, however, are committed to the state's Department of Juvenile Justice and one of the state's juvenile prison facilities.

A 2012 change in Illinois law (Public Act 097-0362) requires that all judges considering commitment of a juvenile offender to incarceration at an IDJJ facility must first determine that incarceration "is the least restrictive alternative based on evidence that efforts were made to locate less restrictive alternatives to secure confinement and the reasons why efforts were unsuccessful in locating a less restrictive alternative to secure confinement."

Before committing a minor to IDJJ, judges also must make a finding that secure confinement is necessary following a review of several factors, including the age of the minor, criminal background, the child's mental health needs, and why any community-based rehabilitative services provided in the past did not succeed, as well as whether services available within IDJJ will meet the needs of the child.

Most often, commitment to IDJJ is not in the best interest of the youth or necessary for public safety.

Although more cost effective to allow youth to remain in their homes, it is important that a proper assessment be made and services - like drug and alcohol addiction treatment, anger management, family counseling, and others - are provided as needed. By matching treatment with needs, recidivism risks can be lowered, and the youth will more likely change the behaviors that first brought them into contact with the juvenile justice system.

As discussed above, these services can be delivered early in the process after contact with police, and the youth might never come before a judge. They also can be delivered at the post-adjudication stage, in conjunction with supervision by a parole or probation officer.

Parents and guardians, schools, probation officers, community social service providers and many others play critical roles in intervening to change the lives of young people in trouble with the law.

The following are a few key initiatives supported by the Commission to promote innovative community-based alternatives to incarceration:

The Commission oversees the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) in Illinois. JDAI is a national initiative funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation with the goal to prevent the inappropriate, costly, and unnecessary use of secure detention for youth who do not pose a threat to public safety and do not demonstrate a flight risk. JDAI promotes changes to policies, practices, and programs to reduce reliance on secure confinement, improve public safety, reduce racial disparities and biases, save taxpayers' dollars, and stimulate overall juvenile justice reforms. Thirty-six Illinois counties have formally engaged in JDAI since the year 2000. Cook County is a national model JDAI site.

The Commission, through its JDAI Committee and staff, provide technical assistance and training to promote reform and data collection in participating jurisdictions. Local sites undertake systemic work in eight interrelated areas: governance and collaboration; data-driven decision-making; objective detention screening; development of community-based detention alternatives; expedited case processing; addressing special detention cases; attention to racial, ethnic and gender disparities; and improving conditions of confinement. The Commission awarded grants of $65,000 in FY 11 and $91,000 in FY12 in support of statewide coordination of local JDAI efforts.

State programs provide assistance to communities, but some services have been curtailed due to recent state budget problems. Community-based services such as mental health care, substance abuse treatment, educational supports, and other resources improve the lives of vulnerable young people and enhance public safety more effectively and at a fraction of the cost of detention and incarceration. For example, services like these that are proven effective can be delivered to families for $5,000 to $10,000 or less per year, while sending a teenager to an IDJJ facility can cost several times as much. Allowing continued cuts to these cost-effective services is disheartening, and could require the state to spend far higher amounts in the future on incarceration and social services.

RECOMMENDATION: The Commission recommends all county detention centers participate in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and encourages the development of community based alternatives to secure detention, thereby improving youth outcomes and decreasing juvenile justice costs.

The Comprehensive Community Based Services (CCBYS) program provides crisis assistance to youth who have run away from home or been "locked out" by their parents or guardians. Available every hour of every day through a statewide network of providers, CCBYS provides critical assistance to police and sheriff's departments by working directly with youth brought to police stations, providing emergency shelter care, stabilizing and reunifying families, providing or linking families with needed mental health care resources, and resolving conflicts that otherwise would result in sending the youth deeper into the juvenile justice system. The program is funded and administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). Between FY09 and FY12, funding for CCBYS has been cut 18 percent to an annual appropriation of $10.5 million.
(A fact sheet about CCBYS is available on the IDHS website here: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=59779)

The CCBYS program has also been used to support the development of an innovative alternative to detention for youth involved in family conflict. The Adolescent Domestic Battery (ADB) program was developed as a pilot program with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Models for Change Initiative, and the Commission currently provides support for this program. The program provides CCBYS crisis services, screening, safety planning, therapeutic intervention, and family support as an alternative to detention for youth and families who would otherwise cycle in and out of the juvenile justice system because of conflict and crisis within the home.

The Commission has supported ADB programs in Cook, DuPage and Peoria counties that respond to the unique needs of young people involved in family crisis or violence. Each of those three sites received a $50,000 grant from the Commission in FY11 and in FY12. These programs focus not only on the youth's behavior, but also on underlying family needs. In fact, research from the three sites has led to a better understanding of the dynamics of families in crisis, which in turn has produced enhanced knowledge, more effective intervention and support, and-ultimately-better outcomes for youth and families.

Since its inception as a pilot program in 2006, Redeploy Illinois has diverted more than 850 youth from IDJJ and allowed the state to avoid a potential $40 million in incarceration costs. Preliminary results of a cost-effectiveness study indicate youth receiving services through Redeploy Illinois are far less likely to be re-arrested in comparison with similar youth incarcerated in state prisons. In exchange for a commitment to reduce the number of youth committed to state incarceration, the 28 counties participating in Redeploy Illinois receive funding for local alternatives to incarceration. Most participating counties exceeded the goal of a 25 percent reduction in youth sent to IDJJ; overall, the program has achieved a 51 percent reduction in the average number of youth sent to IDJJ from participating counties. Redeploy Illinois is funded and administered through IDHS, in collaboration with an appointed oversight board. For the past two years, funding for Redeploy Illinois has remained at $2.4 million annually. (The most recent Redeploy Illinois annual report is available here: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/OneNetLibrary/27897/documents/CHP/RedeployIllinois/2011RedeployILAnnualReportFinalPDF.pdf

Due to state funding cuts, several other prevention programs have been eliminated. In the IDHS budget, funding has been eliminated for the Communities for Youth, the Unified Delinquency Intervention Services, and the Delinquency Prevention programs. In FY09, those three programs combined received nearly $8.3 million in state funding-only one-quarter of the cost of incarceration spending for one year.

RECOMMENDATION: Late payments and funding cuts make it more difficult for local communities and counties to address youth problems locally. Instead of threatening public safety with more cuts, the state should take care to maximize investments in prevention and intervention services. At a minimum, the CCBYS appropriation should be restored to FY 09 levels and the Redeploy Illinois appropriation should be increased to expand Redeploy Illinois beyond the current 28 participating counties.

Youth Intervention Services

PROGRAMS  FY09 FY13 PERCENT CUT
CCBYS $12,756,900 $10,504,700 18%
Communities for Youth $3,696,000 0 100%
Delinquency Prevention $1,547,700 0 100%
Homeless Youth $4,652,700 $3,227,200 31%
Redeploy Illinois $3,229,100 $2,484,500 23%
Teen Reach $18,732,500 $6,573,600 65%
UDIS $3,019,200 0 100%
TOTAL $47,634,200 $22,790,000 52%

Aftercare System

The state is responsible for community reentry or "aftercare" for the small proportion of juvenile-justice-involved youth committed to IDJJ. About 1,500 youth are on parole today.

As the Commission explained in its "Youth Reentry Improvement Report" in 2011, "An essential measurement of any juvenile "reentry" system is whether youth returning from incarceration remain safely and successfully within their communities. By this fundamental measure, Illinois is failing."

The full text of the "Youth Reentry Improvement Report" is here: www.ijjc.illinois.gov/reentryimprovementreport

As directed by the Illinois Youth Reentry and Improvement Law of 2009, the Commission studied how decisions are made in the reentry system, which includes IDJJ, the Prisoner Review Board, and parole officers with the Department of Corrections. The system is intended to help juveniles move from prison cells back to their home communities where they can continue their rehabilitation. However, the Commission's research documented that 54 percent of juveniles sent to IDJJ have been there previously and are returning because of technical parole violations, such as truancy, curfew violations, or problems within the home.

The study found that the system does little to prepare youth and families for life outside prison walls; youth on parole rarely receive needed services or school linkages and too often return to expensive youth prisons due to technical parole violations; and PRB parole revocation proceedings are largely perfunctory hearings where the youth's right to a lawyer and due process are not protected.

Considerable progress has been made toward implementation of one of the report's most significant recommendations -- changing the way juveniles on parole are supervised.

Aftercare Specialists

Before the "Youth Reentry Improvement Report" was issued, IDJJ had begun to pilot an "Aftercare" program in Cook County. Newly trained aftercare specialists working for IDJJ replaced Department of Corrections parole agents who had mixed adult and juvenile caseloads. The new IDJJ aftercare specialists began working with juveniles and their families as soon as the juveniles entered IDJJ, and they started to prepare them for success upon their eventual return to their home communities. The specialists ensure youth receive necessary services upon release and closely monitor youth as they transition back into the community.

The Commission's report recommended the Aftercare pilot program in Cook County be instituted statewide. With funding approved by the General Assembly and Governor Quinn, IDJJ Director Arthur Bishop has begun to expand the program statewide through the hiring and training of up to 54 additional aftercare staff (specialists/supervisors) in 2013. This expansion is an important step in improving youth outcomes and public safety and should be fully supported.

Other recommendations in the Commission's reentry report included:

  • To make informed decisions about release and to assign appropriate conditions of parole for juveniles, PRB members should receive training needed to perform a comprehensive review of each case and the unique needs of juveniles.
  • The PRB should use specific criteria to make consistent, well-informed release decisions and written decisions should be given to the youth.
  • There should be regular PRB reviews of each youth to allow the PRB to document and assess the progress of juveniles.
  • IDJJ should develop youth-appropriate, graduated sanctions for violations of parole conditions, and youth should not be returned to prison routinely for technical violations like truancy and curfew violations.
  • A judge, rather than the PRB, should preside over parole revocation hearings.
  • Instead of youth remaining on parole until their 21st birthday regardless of when they began parole, the length of parole should be limited by law.

Some of those recommendations, including improved training of PRB members, have been acted on, and others remain under discussion among policymakers and legislators.

RECOMMENDATION: The Commission recommends continuation and evaluation of the Aftercare Specialists program, as well as implementation of the other recommendations contained in the "Youth Reentry Improvement Report." (www.ijjc.illinois.gov/reentryimprovementreport)

Reentry Demonstration Project

In addition to the reentry report, the Commission began a demonstration project to provide intensive reintegration services to help youth transition back into their home communities on the West Side of Chicago and in the East St. Louis region. Those areas have among the highest rates of youth incarceration in Illinois.

In July 2012, the Commission dedicated $1.5 million in federal funds for a three-year pilot project to allow two non-profit family service agencies to work with youth returning to those communities. The Commission will evaluate the effectiveness of the demonstration project for possible statewide implementation.

Policy, Practice and Culture Change

Since its creation in 2006, the leadership of IDJJ has encouraged a culture change away from the punitive corrections model that is exemplified by the adult prison systems operated by the Illinois Department of Corrections, which oversaw the juvenile prisons prior to enactment of legislation separating the two.

Gradually, IDJJ is being transformed into a department with a therapeutic, youth-focused model of care primarily focused on fostering success of the young people assigned to IDJJ.

This change is necessary and the progress is encouraging. IDJJ Director Arthur Bishop and his leadership team try to make certain young people entering IDJJ are assessed to determine their individual needs and try to match those youth with the appropriate services aimed at rehabilitation. The aftercare services workers are involved from the beginning, as are the families. This early attention and follow-up by aftercare specialists when the youth are back in their communities should help reduce recidivism.

Retraining of veteran staff and the addition of new staff members is an important part of the changing culture.

Change, of course, is rarely accomplished with ease or embraced 100 percent by everyone in a state agency.

The transition from adult to youth-oriented rehabilitation agency came at the same time the Governor and IDJJ were attempting to consolidate the eight youth prisons into a system with six facilities.

As mentioned previously in this annual report, the youth population of the prison system has dropped dramatically, and the eight-prison system has operated at under 60 percent of capacity. Efficient use of scarce state resources requires closing at least two prisons. After determining the closure of one or more of the youth prisons is appropriate and necessary, the Commission has supported the Governor's call for closure of the Illinois Youth Centers in Murphysboro and Joliet.

RECOMMENDATION: The declining youth population in IDJJ facilities must be monitored and additional restructuring of the system may be warranted. The Commission further urges that any cost savings of facilities closure be reinvested in community-based strategies and aftercare, which prevent costly and unnecessary incarceration of youth or assist young people returning safely and successfully to their communities.

Mental Health Care and IDJJ Training

In 2009, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) entered into a partnership with the MacArthur Foundation to reform the Illinois juvenile justice system from an adult-focused punitive model to a therapeutic youth-focused model of care. This partnership was established just three years following IDJJ's separation from the adult Department of Corrections in June of 2006. The collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation was critical for IDJJ, as it provided much needed support after the department received minimal resources to effectuate its change in vision.

In 2009-2010, IDJJ collaborated with the Illinois Models for Change initiative to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the department's behavioral health policies, practices, and programming. A team of national and local mental health and corrections experts conducted the evaluation and issued a final report in July 2010. The team assessed the following areas in all eight IDJJ facilities: behavioral health needs of youth; staffing levels; training of behavioral health professionals; policies and directives regarding behavioral health services; screening and assessments; and aftercare for youth with behavioral health needs. The behavioral health team assessment's report is available here: http://www.modelsforchange.net/publications/271

Illinois Models for Change also helped IDJJ identify tangible improvement goals, such as: building a model treatment program that develops youth competencies through the use of evidence-based practices; creating a juvenile-centered environment; implementing a case management system with screening, assessment and individualized case plans for all youth entering IDJJ; creating a model reentry system for youth leaving IDJJ facilities; and enhancing data analysis and evaluation.

Significant progress has been made in all areas. Progress has been slowed in some instances by the structure of the agency when it was split off from DOC in 2006. Even though it became a Cabinet level agency, IDJJ still had to rely on DOC for "shared services," such as information technology. Due to increased funding and a law revision permitting IDJJ to rely on other human service agencies, the "shared services" obstacle has been lessened.

Financial pressures and unfilled staff vacancies have also hampered change, but IDJJ leadership is committed to transformation of IDJJ into the rehabilitative model intended when it was created, and has added technical staff and become a more data-driven agency. Computerization of records and analysis should improve case management and understanding of its population.

RECOMMENDATION: IDJJ has made great improvements in the assessment of the mental health needs of the youth in its care, but it must maintain that progress to make sure all children in need of mental health treatment do receive the appropriate care. Adequate funds are needed to maintain appropriate staffing levels and continued improvement of technology resources for informed decision making within IDJJ and by other policymakers.

Compliance with Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act

As the federally mandated State Advisory Group, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission manages funds granted to the state by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the U.S. Department of Justice. In an annual report to OJJDP, the Commission describes its work and the status of the state's compliance with each of the core requirements set forth in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Illinois is in full compliance with three of the four core requirements. Unfortunately, the state's compliance with the Disproportionate Minority Contact requirement is in jeopardy due to deficiencies in the state's race and ethnicity data.

The Commission also works to ensure that state programs and policies recognize the developmental needs of youth and support their rehabilitation. In addition, the Commission identifies, funds, and evaluates policy reforms that reduce the unnecessary confinement of youth and provide for the rehabilitation of youth in secure care.

The 2012-2014 Title II Program grant will support the following: 1) re-entry strategies that reduce recidivism; 2) Disproportionate Minority Contact strategies that reduce the proportional rate of youth of color in the system; 3) alternatives to secure detention; 4) improved data collection and analysis; 5) mental health assessment and treatment; 6) monitoring of detention and correctional facilities to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations; 7) jail removal strategies; and 8) substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery.

The four requirements of all states receiving federal funds under the Act follow:

  • Reduce disproportionate minority contact within the juvenile justice system.  States must demonstrate they are working to reduce the disproportionate number of minority youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. The Commission is currently assessing DMC across the state, including comprehensive race and ethnicity data collection from the 41 counties that are home to most of Illinois' minority youth. The assessment process also includes input from law enforcement and juvenile justice practitioners about DMC in their local communities. The results of this assessment will be the foundation for a future strategy to reduce the disproportionate number of minority youth in the Illinois juvenile justice system.
  • Separate juveniles from adults in secure facilities. If an adult and juvenile offender are incarcerated at the same time in the same jail or lockup, they must be separated to that they cannot see or hear one another. Illinois statute mandates this sight and sound separation, and the state monitors and inspects local facilities. Illinois has a solid record of being in compliance with the separation requirement of the JJDPA.
  • Deinstitutionalize status offenders. No minor accused of a status offense - an act that would not be criminal if committed by an adult - may be securely detained in a jail, lockup or juvenile detention center. Examples of status offenses are truancy, running away, curfew violations, underage drinking and being ungovernable. Illinois continues to be in compliance with this core requirement, and the Commission continues to work with county officials and others to educate stakeholders about alternatives to detention and to identify resources to assist them. The Commission will assist efforts to develop alternatives to holding school truants in secure detention.
  • Remove juveniles from adult jails and lockups. Illinois is in full compliance with the jail removal requirement. A rule of reason is applied; this rule allows alleged delinquents to be detained for up to six hours for the purpose of investigation and identification. The clock starts the moment a juvenile is placed in a locked setting, which includes: any locked room; or when a juvenile is handcuffed to a stationary object. At the end of the six hours the juvenile must be released or transferred to a juvenile detention center. Illinois developed strategies to maintain compliance with the jail removal requirement, including grants to help rural counties transport juveniles to juvenile detention centers away from counties that have jails but not juvenile facilities.

Recommendations

  • For a variety of reasons, including the large number of local jurisdictions coming in contact with juveniles and years of funding difficulties, Illinois does not have an up-to-date and coordinated data system to receive and analyze information about juveniles in the system from the point of first contact with police through adjudication and parole. This lack of timely and accurate data impedes policymakers' decision-making ability. In addition, the lack of statewide data jeopardizes a portion of Illinois' federal funding. The Commission is committed to enhancing the collection and analysis of data with the cooperation of all parts of the system.
  • The Commission recommends all county detention centers participate in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative and encourages the development of community based alternatives to secure detention, thereby improving youth outcomes and decreasing juvenile justice costs.
  • Late payments and funding cuts make it more difficult for local communities and counties to address youth problems locally. Instead of threatening public safety with more cuts, the state should take care to maximize investments in prevention and intervention services. At a minimum, the CCBYS appropriation should be restored to FY09 levels and the Redeploy Illinois appropriation should be increased to expand Redeploy Illinois beyond the current 28 participating counties.
  • The Commission recommends continuation and evaluation of the Aftercare Specialists program, as well as implementation of the other recommendations contained in the "Youth Reentry Improvement Report." (www.ijjc.illinois.gov/reentryimprovementreport)
  • The declining youth population in IDJJ facilities must be monitored and additional restructuring of the system may be warranted. The Commission further urges that any cost savings of facilities closure be reinvested in community-based strategies, which prevent costly and unnecessary incarceration of youth, and aftercare, which helps young people to return safely and successfully to their communities.
  • IDJJ has made great improvements in assessing the mental health needs of the youth in its care, but it must maintain that progress to make sure all children in need of mental health treatment receive the appropriate care. Adequate funds are needed to maintain appropriate staffing levels and ensure access to the technology resources necessary for informed decision making within IDJJ and by other policymakers.

Postscript

Although this report covers years 2011 and 2012, the Commission also calls your attention to recommendations contained in "Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction," a Commission research report mandated by statute and delivered to the Governor and the General Assembly in February 2013. The complete report can be found here: www.ijjc.illinois.gov/rta

The Commission examined the impact of a 2010 state law placing 17-year-olds in juvenile courts for misdemeanor charges but in adult criminal court for felony charges. The examination led the Commission to recommend the age of juvenile jurisdiction be expanded to include 17-year-olds charged with felonies. Under the Commission's recommendations, 17-year-olds would remain eligible for transfer to adult court for specific, very serious offenses as detailed in the state's transfer laws.

When the 2010 law was debated, some expressed concerns about the impact of moving all 17-year-old misdemeanants into the juvenile system. To address these concerns, legislation directed the Commission to study the change and make recommendations about moving all 17-year-olds into the juvenile justice system.

The Commission's study concluded that "none of the predicted negative consequences on the juvenile court system have occurred" due to the inclusion of 17-year-old misdemeanants in the juvenile justice system. The findings include the following:

  • Due to a sharp decline in juvenile crime, there are currently fewer juvenile arrests (even after including 17-year-old misdemeanants) than when the General Assembly began debating the change in 2008.
  • County juvenile detention centers and state juvenile incarceration facilities were not overrun, as some had feared. Instead, one detention center and two state incarceration facilities have been closed, and excess capacity is still the statewide norm.
  • Multiple federal juvenile policy briefs have now offered new insight into the potential for adolescent offenders to grow and change - and have warned of serious negative public safety consequences of sending minors through an adult criminal system.
  • Instead of drawing a wise, safe, or clear distinction between minor and serious offenses, the law splitting 17-year-olds between two court systems caused confusion, and jurisdictional questions still regularly arise when 17-year-olds are arrested.

RECOMMENDATION: To promote a juvenile justice system focused on public safety, youth rehabilitation, fairness, and fiscal responsibility, Illinois should immediately adopt legislation expanding the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds charged with felonies.

Later this year, the Commission will present the Governor and General Assembly with the results of a Commission study of youth who sexually offend. The statute, P.A. 97-0163, directs the Commission to study and make recommendations "to ensure the effective treatment and supervision of the specialized population of juvenile offenders who are adjudicated delinquent for a sex offense." The study will provide current, objective, and research-based analysis and recommendations for enhancing public safety, improving the outcomes of youth who sexually offend, and making the most effective use of state resources.

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