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Should Illinois Raise the Age for Juvenile Offenders?

July 31st, 2019 at 10:19 am

IL defense attorney, Illinois juvenile law attorney, The law on juvenile delinquents in Illinois is garnering international attention. Together, the Justice Lab and Juvenile Justice Initiative are meeting with individuals from Germany and Croatia that are involved in the juvenile justice system in their own countries. Among them are prosecutors, judges, and probation leaders. Their hope is to create better strategies to deal with juvenile delinquents in Illinois so the state can see reduced recidivism rates and help enable the state’s youth for a better tomorrow. One of the main factors they are considering is raising the age of juvenile delinquents in the state.

The Current Law

Currently, anyone that is 18 or younger and charged with a crime is considered a juvenile delinquent. Historically, anyone charged with a felony was charged in adult court, regardless of their age. That law was changed in 2014 so that those under the age of 18 and charged with a felony were also considered juvenile delinquents.

However, there are some exceptions. At the court’s discretion, if the crime is considered especially heinous, a juvenile could be tried in adult court. These crimes typically include particularly violent offenses such as rape and murder.

The Proposed Law

At the meeting that involved foreign individuals in the criminal justice system, recommendations were made to raise the age of juvenile delinquents from 18 to 21. State Senator Laura Fine from Glenview has also suggested raising the age from 18 to 21 in Senate Bill 239.

Fine has seen for herself what raising the age does. After visiting Germany, a country that deems anyone under the age of 21 a delinquent, she says she has seen real progress. When introducing the bill, she stated the many benefits the new law would have, and why it is so important in today’s world.

Benefits of the Proposed Law

One argument Fine gave for increasing the age was that those between the ages of 18 to 25 had the highest rate of recidivism. That is, they are the individuals most likely to commit another crime upon their release. This is due to the fact that this younger age group is not as fully developed as older adults and as so, they should not be treated as such.

Fine also pointed to the fact that youths are dealing with so much more today than they were when the law was originally created. They are on social media all the time, are open to new, and much more damaging, forms of bullying, and regularly participate in active-shooter drills at school, leaving them in fear much of the time.

This pressure is too much for many youths to handle. That is the reason so many minors are simply circulated through the justice system time and time again. This is not only extremely damaging to the youth that is going through it, but also to future victims. By placing older youths in the juvenile system rather than trying them as adults, the hope is that they will get the rehabilitation they need instead of strictly punishment.

Was Your Child Charged with a Crime? Contact a Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Attorney

There is no doubt that if Fine’s bill passes, it will do a tremendous amount of good for juveniles in Illinois, and the state as a whole. However, we are not there yet. Today, if your child is charged with a crime, they could still be tried as an adult, which will have an incredibly negative impact on the rest of their lives. That does not have to happen.

If your child has been charged with a crime, contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we will work hard to keep your child in the juvenile justice system and get them the rehabilitation they need so they can live the rest of their life without a criminal record. Call us at 847-394-3200 or fill out our online for your free consultation and learn more about how we can help your family.

 

Source:

https://www.publicnewsservice.org/2019-06-05/juvenile-justice/an-international-view-of-justice-for-illinois-young-adults/a66696-1

 

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