Illinois Governor Taps Models for Change Leaders to Help Shape Juvenile Justice Policy
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently reinvigorated the state’s Juvenile Justice Commission (IJJC) by naming 16 new members to the 25-member advisory group. Several of the new commission members are leaders of the Illinois Models for Change initiative, including the IJJC’s new chairman, George W. Timberlake, a member of the Illinois MfC Coordinating Council.
“I am confident that this diverse group of leaders will work tirelessly to ensure that youth in the Illinois juvenile justice system receive the quality services and care they need,” said Governor Quinn. “I want to thank each of these members for answering the call to serve at-risk youth in our state.”
Serving as the federally mandated state advisory group to the governor, the Illinois General Assembly and the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), the IJJC develops and approves the state’s plan for the expenditure of about $2.4 million annually in Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act funds.
"The commission should – and can – be the voice of juvenile justice in Illinois,” said Judge Timberlake. “I look forward to working with the other commission members to lead the discussion about dedicating adequate resources, enacting needed reforms and producing positive outcomes for kids in Illinois’ juvenile justice system.”
Judge Timberlake was a trial court judge for 23 years and remains active in promoting juvenile justice reform since his retirement in 2006,
“There are a lot of committed people with a lot of energy working to improve the system in Illinois, and change is in progress,” Judge Timberlake said. “Nonetheless, the state and most counties rely too much on incarceration as a response to crime by youth. We know it is ineffective. We know it is too expensive. We also know there are many better alternatives, and the commission must do more to encourage alternatives to incarceration.”
“Thanks to the efforts of many – state government leaders, the veteran members of this commission, as well as the new members and several other reform advocates – improvements in juvenile justice have earned national recognition for Illinois,” said Lisa Jacobs, Program Manager, Illinois Models for Change. “By turning the Redeploy Illinois pilot into a permanent statewide program and establishing the Department of Juvenile Justice as an agency independent of the adult Department of Corrections, there is momentum for reform in Illinois. By working together and in partnership with others, the members of the IJJC must keep those improvements on track, introduce other promising approaches and accelerate reform.”
The IJJC includes a locally-elected official; experts in programs addressing violence, alternative care and special-needs youth; and members from law enforcement, a juvenile justice agency, public agencies concerned with delinquency prevention and treatment, non-profit agencies, and volunteers who work with delinquents. In addition, some IJJC members are under the age of 24 with experience in the system.
The recent IJJC appointees are:
• Rodney J. Ahitow*, Past President of the Correctional Education Association and former Educational Executive for the Illinois Department of Corrections School District;
• Roseanna Ander, Founder and Executive Director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab;
• Julie L. Biehl, Clinical Assistant Professor, Director of Policy and Programs, the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law:
• Patricia Connell, an attorney and Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator, John Howard Association’s Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative;
• Edith Crigler, Associate Executive Director of the Chicago Area Project;
• Debra Ferguson, Associate Deputy for Forensics, Division of Mental Health, Illinois Department of Human Services;
• Esther Franco-Payne, Program Director, Juvenile Justice/Violence Initiative of Chicago Metropolis 2020, and member of the Illinois Models for Change Coordinating Council;
• Kurt Friedenauer. Director, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice;
• Gene Griffin, Clinical Director of the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition and Assistant Professor of the Mental Health and Services Policy Program at Northwestern University School of Medicine;
• George H. Hill Jr.*, President and Founder of Mid-States General and Mechanical Contracting and member of the Board of the Juvenile Justice Initiative;
• Lisa Jacobs, Program Manager, Illinois Models for Change;
• Rev. Charles Jenkins, Pastor, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago;
• Patrick Nelson, Cook County Juvenile Probation Officer and former high school principal;
• Edwin Reyes, Cook County Commissioner for the 8th District and member of the Illinois State Police;
• Pamela Rodriguez, President, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities Illinois
• Randall Strickland, State DMC Coordinator, Illinois Models for Change;
• Wayne Straza*, Deputy Director of Enforcement Administration, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation;
• George W. Timberlake, retired Chief Justice, State of Illinois Second Circuit Court and member of the Illinois Models for Change Coordinating Council; and
• Rick Velasquez, Executive Director, Youth Outreach Services.
* Denotes reappointments to the IJJC. All others are new members.