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For some of the analyses in the ICJIA report, offense class was grouped into misdemeanor or felony. Other analyses in this report examined each offense class individually, or in other groupings. Offense classes were used as a measure of offense severity when available. Some offenses have an unknown class or do not have a class designation, such as a probation violation. These were included in some analyses as a separate group. Offense classes for detention admissions were unavailable.
In Illinois, there are four groups of offense classes: felony, misdemeanor, petty, and local. There are six classes of felonies, in order of severity: first-degree murder, X, 1, 2, 3, and 4; and three classes of misdemeanors, in order of severity: A, B, and C. Petty and local offenses are punishable only by fines.
The arrest data used in this report are derived from the Authority's CHRI Ad Hoc Datasets. The class of the offense is not always submitted for each arrest incident. In 2007, 8 percent of arrests were either unclassified or the class was not submitted (n=3,940). The Authority has developed a method to recode missing classes based on the class designations outlined in the Illinois Compiled Statutes. Some offenses can have multiple offense classes based on the circumstances of the offense. In these instances, the least serious offense class was used.
In 2007, 2 percent of offenses were reclassified as misdemeanors (3 percent for girls, n=297 and 2 percent for boys, n=776). Additionally, in 2007, 2 percent of offenses were reclassified as felonies (2 percent for girls, n=165 and 2 percent for boys, n=602). With so few incidents requiring reclassification, it is unlikely that these changes would impact the results of this report. Appendix B shows the number and percent of misdemeanor and felony recodes that were made for each offense category.
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