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Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Illinois has several separate purpose clauses, (general juvenile court purpose and policy, delinquent minors purpose and policy, legislative findings for serious habitual offenders, and legislative declaration related to violent habitual offenders) which is an uncommon way for states to structure multiple purposes.  Sections retain parens patriae and due process era language and phrases from the Adoption and Safe Families Act (1997) were noted in general and delinquency sections. The section specific to delinquency aligns most closely with BARJ, as it mentions imposing accountability; developing competencies; and strong punishment for violent felonies.  There is a legislative declaration that the community’s right to be protected is “most important” in Violent and Habitual Juvenile Offender proceedings.

75 IL ST 405/1-2; 405/5-101; 405-5-140; 405/5-801

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the juvenile court intake officer.

In Illinois, law enforcement officers (LEO's) may conduct formal or informal “station adjustments” in many circumstances to divert from making referrals to juvenile court, but must seek prior approval from the state attorney (DA) to divert particular offense frequency combinations (ex. 2 formal felonious allegations within 3 years--up to 9 total formal or informal adjustments, etc.) Once a juvenile is detained by LEO, detention hearings must be held within 24 hours.

Otherwise, when a complaint comes before the court, the court JPO may authorize non-judicial probation adjustments for most offenses when the minor and parent consent, though the DA may insist on court action. The JPO proposes a written plan with conditions that may include: DA-developed/approved diversion programs, community mediation panels, teen court and other special courtrooms that can go up to 6 months; informal supervision that can last up to 6 months with a probation officer involved and/or the juvenile is released to a parent or another person; referral to special education, counseling or other rehabilitative social or educational program or residential treatment program;  and ‘any other appropriate action with consent of the minor and a parent', which could potentially go longer.

Once a petition is filed, except for violent or habitual juvenile offenders, the matter can be ‘continued under supervision’ while the youth complies with pre-trial conditions before the judge notes any findings in the record. Some programs are time-limited as described above. The juvenile (attorney) must admit or stipulate to the facts supporting the petition, and there can be no objection from minor, parent, responsible relative, defense attorney or DA to proceed. Pre-trial conditions can include: a curfew, attending evaluations, refraining from possessing weapons, firearms, or automobiles, living in a foster home, going to school, participating in non-residential programs, refraining from contact directly or indirectly with certain people or types of persons (gang, drug users or dealers) entering certain geographic areas, chaperone requirements, advance approval for certain activities, and not violating the law, etc. 

Statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

In Illinois, some pre- and post- petition court diversion programs, terms and conditions can last no longer than 6 months, and others can presumably go longer.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

Restricted by judiciary

In Illinois, pursuant to In re Staley, 364 N.E.2d 72, 73-4 (1977), a juvenile may not be kept in restraints during court proceedings unless a court determines there is a clear necessity for such restraints. Advocates also cite People v. Boose 66 Ill. 2d 261,265-66 (1977) and Illinois v. Allen , 397 U.S. 337 (1970).  On 10/6/16, IL Supreme Court Rule 973 was adopted, which restricted the routine use of restraints effective 11/1/16. 

Competency, 2015

Illinois juvenile statute makes brief reference to incapacity, fitness hearings, and adjudication of unfitness for trial, and that the (adult) code of criminal procedure permits the continuance and ‘examination of fitness’ procedures.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015


About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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