By large margins, the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation directing juvenile court judges to consider whether treatment in a youth's community would be a better option than sentencing the youth to incarceration in a state juvenile prison. Under the bill, before making a commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice, a judge would make a finding that secure confinement is necessary following a review of the youth's age, criminal history, mental health assessment and other factors. Most judges likely do take these factors into consideration now, but the bill is intended to make that routine in every juvenile courtroom. Illinois is one of the core states for the Foundation's Models for Change juvenile justice reform initiative.

Juvenile Justice, Justice, United States, Youth