Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction (pdf)

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

Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission


The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission (the Commission) serves as the federally mandated State Advisory Group to the Governor, General Assembly and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) in developing, reviewing, and approving the State's juvenile justice plan for the expenditure of funds granted to Illinois by the United States Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The Commission members include:

  • Rodney Ahitow, Cuba
  • Julie Biehl, Chicago
  • Arthur D. Bishop, Maywood
  • Jacqueline Bullard, Decatur
  • Shelley Davis, Chicago
  • Demarco Diggs, Chicago
  • Veronica Dixon, Decatur
  • Esther Franco-Payne, Chicago
  • Eugene Griffin, Skokie
  • George Hill, Forsyth
  • Toni Irving, Chicago
  • Arnetra Jackson, Chicago
  • Lisa Jacobs, Wheaton
  • Patrick Nelson, Chicago
  • Edward Rangel, Chicago
  • Pamela F. Rodriguez, Elk Grove Village
  • Michael Rodriguez, Chicago
  • Ben Roe, Rochelle
  • Wayne Straza, Countryside
  • Randell Strickland, Chicago
  • Chairperson:  Judge George Timberlake, Mount Vernon
  • Rick Velasquez, Oak Park
  • Ethan Viets-Van Lear, Chicago
  • Dana Weiner, Chicago

The Commission gratefully acknowledges Stephanie Kollmann, the research author of this report.

In addition, the Commission acknowledges the tremendous work of Northwestern University School of Law clinic students and interns, including Stephen Bychowski, Jane Ehinger, Julie Lee, Dan McElroy, Brendan Mooney, and Camille Provencal-Dayle. The Commission sincerely thanks the many state, county and local agencies that shared the data and opinions that inform this report.

  • [D]ifferences between juveniles under 18 and adults demonstrate that juvenile offenders cannot with reliability be classified among the worst offenders. . . . The Thompson plurality recognized the import of these characteristics with respect to juveniles under 16. The same reasoning applies to all juvenile offenders under 18Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 553 (2005) (internal citations omitted) (emphasis added)
  • [It is] not exactly an equal protection issue, but it's still weird to me, that if the basis for changing [Illinois] law was the development of the juvenile brain . . . [it] doesn't make any sense [to say a 17-year-old has and] mens rea for residential burglary but not for theft. Nonsensical.  Prosecutor interview

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