Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction: The Future of 17-yr-olds in Illinois' Justice System
Published Feb 1, 2013, Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission
In 2009, legislative advocates in Illinois supported moving 17-yr-olds from criminal to juvenile court jurisdiction. The proposal was vigorously debated, with opponents raising concerns over public safety, staggering probation caseloads, overcrowded detention facilities and unmanageable fiscal costs. In response to these concerns, the General Assembly passed an innovative compromise; Illinois would be the first and only state in the nation to send exclusively misdemeanants through the juvenile system. Any and all felony charged 17-year-olds would stay in adult criminal court for the time being—until the effects of the change were known and the impact of further change could be considered.
Since the misdemeanor age change took effect on January 1, 2010, none of the predicted negative consequences on the juvenile court system have occurred.