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Illinois Inconsistently Applies Juvenile Detention Policy

Posted on in Criminal Law

Illinois Inconsistently Applies Juvenile Detention PolicyIllinois has amended its juvenile crime laws in recent years to try to reduce the lasting damage that the justice system can cause. It is more difficult for the state to try a juvenile as an adult and easier for juvenile offenders to seal or clear their records. However, the use of detention centers is still negatively affecting some juveniles. Even police detention after an arrest can psychologically damage a child. Juvenile advocates are challenging the detention system, saying that detention centers do not meet the goal of rehabilitating the children.

Statistics Suggest Harm

Studies of people who served time in a juvenile detention facility as children show that the use of detention facilities often correlates with:

  • Lower high school graduation rates;
  • Lower rates of employment and income potential;
  • Higher occurrences of mental illness; and
  • Greater likelihood of becoming a repeat offender.

Other studies have concluded that areas that more often offer alternatives to juvenile detention have lower rates of juvenile crime.

Inconsistent Policy

Illinois juvenile laws give police officers a large amount of discretion in determining whether to detain juveniles upon arrest. According to the laws:

  • A police officer’s options after arresting a juvenile range from letting the child go with little repercussion to detaining the child for further questioning;
  • A detention facility can hold juveniles for as long as 40 hours before reviewing their detentions, and that time does not include weekends and holidays; and
  • Children as young as 10 can be detained.

In court, the number of juveniles who are sent to a detention center can vary greatly by county. The disparity seems to have more to do with whether a county has its own juvenile detention center than what the population of the county is. Lake County, which has a detention center, held about 32 children per day in 2016. McHenry County, which does not have a detention center, held five children per day.

Alternative Punishments

If your child is appearing before a juvenile court, you want the court to be aware of and ready to use correctional tools other than sending your child to a detention center. Juveniles who are found guilty of all but the most violent offenses are better served by participating in community service or attending special programs that may be available at the county level. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will defend your child against the criminal accusations or advocate for an appropriate punishment. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

Source:

https://jjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/JJI-Detention-Report-May-4-2018.pdf

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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