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10-Year-Olds and Juvenile Detention

 Posted on June 02, 2017 in Juvenile Crimes

juvenile detention, Rolling MeadowsA sweeping wave of legislation aimed at restructuring the juvenile criminal system in Illinois has taken hold. Many lawmakers and civil rights activists nationwide are advocating for less punitive sentences for minors who are ensnared in the criminal justice system.

Minors and Juvenile Detention

Illinois law demands that the minimum age that a child can be held in a juvenile detention center is 10. The nationwide regulation is 13, as recommended by the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative—a Maryland-based private philanthropy foundation. The minimum age in Illinois to serve time in a juvenile state prison, as opposed to juvenile detention, is 13.

Illinois lawmakers and juvenile justice advocates are arguing that the age required to be detained in a juvenile detention center should be raised to 13. It seems unlikely that a bill would pass, however, without language carving out an exception for certain classifications of felonies. Advocates of raising the age to 13 argue that adding an exception would ruin the intent of the bill.

Juvenile detention centers operate much like jails except for minor children. Illinois law prevents, in most cases, a minor from spending over 30 days at a time in a juvenile detention center. However, there are cases where children fall through the cracks and spend longer periods of time in a juvenile detention center, especially when mental health issues exist.

Why Lawmakers Want to Keep 10-Year-Olds Out of Juvenile Detention

It is settled science that a child’sdecision-making ability is different and less developed than that of an adult. Elizabeth Clarke, President of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, is quoted as arguing that locking away a child, who many times has never been away from home for any period of time, is extremely detrimental to that child and can cause life long issues.

For 16 years, supporters of criminal justice reform have pursued legislation that would curb the numberof childrenending up in juvenile prisons. There has been little progress regarding the detention of elementary school aged children. On the forefront of this initiative is the Juvenile Redeploy program. Since the inception of the Juvenile Redeploy program, there has been a notable decline of juveniles being imprisoned and detained.

Rolling Meadows Juvenile Criminal Defense

A juvenile conviction may not seemas severe as an adult conviction, but the consequences can be extensive. A skilled and experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense lawyer will be integral to you securing the best possible outcome for your case. Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200 or visit to schedule a consultation today.


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