A. Plan for Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders


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Section 3- Plans for compliance with the First Three Core-Requirements of the JDPA Act And the State's Plan for Compliance Monitoring

3A. Plan for Deinstitutionalization of 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. An exception is granted for status offenders detained for violation of a valid court order. This requirement also extends to non-offenders, children who fall under the Juvenile Court Act who are abused, neglected and/or dependent. Under the rules of the exception, the state has to prove that the original court order was valid, that the minor had received all of his/her rights under the Gault decision, that the minor had been ordered to do or not to do something, that conditions of the order had been given orally in a court and in writing, and that the minor had been admonished that violation of the court's order could result in detention. Prior to being ordered into detention for contempt of court, the case would also have to be reviewed by a group, not composed of court employee or police officials, to assure that all other means of dealing with the juveniles had been exhausted. The judge is not bound by the group's recommendation.

At present, Illinois is not in violation and therefore does not use this valid court order exception. Illinois instead counts the status and non-offenders detained for contempt of court as violations of the Act. Staff continues to monitor the contempt of court violations to see if Illinois needs to prepare to use the valid court order exception.

Status

Illinois continues to be in compliance with the Deinstitutionalization of Status Offenders core requirement.

In 2007, 2008 and 2009, Illinois was in compliance with the DSO core requirement and DSO violations have been decreasing. Illinois reported that it had no DSO violations in jail or lockup facilities these years.

In 2007, violations in juvenile detention centers totaled 52. Ten counties out of seventeen with Juvenile detention centers accounted for all 52 violations (truancy 12, non offenders 18 and other 22). Illinois' de minimis figure for compliance in 2007 was 188 violations.

In 2008, violations in juvenile detention centers totaled 50.Ten counties out of seventeen with  Juvenile detention centers accounted for all 50 violations (truancy 24, non offenders 7 and other 19). Illinois' de minimis figure for compliance in 2008 was 188 violations

In 2009, violations in juvenile detention centers totaled 41.Ten counties out of seventeen with Juvenile detention centers accounted for all 41 violations (truancy 19, non offenders 7 and other 15). Illinois' de minimis figure for compliance in 2009 was 182 violations.

Plan to Maintain Compliance Status

Illinois has worked diligently to become compliant with the DSO core requirement of the JJDP Act. Illinois continues to ensure it will maintain compliance through a variety of strategies:

  1. The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission (IJJC) is concentrating its efforts on those six counties that accounted for 84 percent of the detention of status offenders in juvenile detention centers. IJJC staff have found that meeting in person with key stakeholders in the juvenile detention process helps to educate persons on detention alternatives and development of additional resources. As IJJC staff conducts local meetings, attempts are made to involve the detention center leadership, juvenile probation, the judiciary, state's attorney and public defender. Community service providers are involved in subsequent discussions and planning efforts, as needed.
  2. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has previously funded four projects designed to prevent status offenders from being detained in a secure setting. The pilot projects were chosen based upon the community need and the high number of DSO violations exhibited in each targeted community. IDHS intends to continue to use strategies such as these to address issues in newly identified counties as appropriate, as their success is evident by the overall compliance of the state.
  3. The IJJC is working in partnership with the Illinois Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Partners Group to address these issues on multiple fronts. Site visits, technical assistance opportunities, capacity building efforts, and more are part of the approach to address the DSO issues in the counties.
  4. The IJJC is also beginning to work closely with the education community regarding truancy issues. In some Illinois communities, truants are court-ordered to attend school. If the youth does not attend school then it is a contempt of court and sometimes the youth is detained. IJJC is interested in working with the Illinois State Board of Education and Regional Superintendent of Schools offices to develop alternatives to holding truants in secure detention. The Illinois State Board of Education has been invited to attend the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Symposiums in the past where truancy alternatives were addressed and the IJJC will continue to explore ways of working collaboratively with ISBE around this issue.