IL passes legislation reducing mandatory minimums in juvenile justice system

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The interior of the female holding cell at LPD. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
Information provided by the Governor’s Office

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (August 16, 2021) — Governor JB Pritzker signed the Procedural Justice for Youth Act on Friday, August 13, reforming the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice’s (IDJJ) operations and policies to advance equity, reduce mandatory minimums, and end the use of isolation and room confinement as punishment for youth.

House Bill 3513 addresses procedural justice by removing mandatory penalties that create longer sentences for younger teens than for older youth who commit the same offenses. Youth labeled as Habitual Juvenile Offenders or Violent Offenders will no longer be committed until age 21, but instead will receive a proportionate extension to their stay at IDJJ. The bill also clarifies concurrent sentencing, so that calculating sentences is done uniformly for youth across the state.

In addition to promoting procedural justice in commitments of youth to IDJJ, House Bill 3513 also makes operational changes that allow IDJJ to align with national practice standards and the department’s mission. The bill prohibits IDJJ from using isolation or room confinement as a punishment in response to youth behavior, in line with the Department’s consent decree and national standards for juvenile facilities.

“Our Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice is continuing its transformational work to build a system that nurtures our young people, supports their growth, and fosters a successful return to a welcoming community,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I’m proud to sign the Procedural Justice for Youth Act into law to advance this critical mission as we leave the punitive models of the past behind and reimagine our juvenile justice system.”

The bill takes effect immediately.