Illinois Youth Center-Chicago (IYC-Chicago) is a male medium-security Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) youth facility located on west side of the city of Chicago.

Read JHA's 2016 monitoring report here.

Vital Statistics

  • Capacity: 130
  • Population: 51
  • Average Age: 16
  • Average Length of Stay: 90-120 days
  • Population by Age: 15 years-6; 16 years-16; 17 years-20; 18 years-9 Population by Race: Black 70%, Latino 21%, White 7%, Other 2%
  • Committing Offenses: Class X, 2; Class 1, 10; Class 2, 23; Class 3, 6; Class 4, 8; Class A, 2
  • Committing County: Carrol-2, Cook-36, Kane-1, Kankakee-1, LaSalle-2, Lake-1, Ogle-1, Stephenson-2, Will-2, Winnebago-3
  • Commitment Type: initial court admission-33, court evaluation-18

(Source: IDJJ January 25, 2016)

Key Observations

  • Chicago’s small youth population, improved levels of staffing across all departments, and location of the facility in the city of Chicago, allow for greater programming within the facility, individual case planning, and field trips outside of the facility.
  • IDJJ has recently revised its medical protocols to focus on issues experienced by youth versus adults, however, JHA remains concerned that not all of these policies are implemented at the facility.
  • IDJJ does not make public the criteria and screening process for assignment into substance abuse treatment, which hinders understanding of the program and the ability to evaluate the success and appropriateness of the program.
  • It is unclear whether Chicago continues to tie a youth’s behavior at the facility to family contact and phone calls and thereby will suspend such contact as a form of punishment. Conversations and documents provided to JHA indicate this practice is still in place. The facility and IDJJ report this is no longer policy, however, no documents have been provided to JHA illustrating this change.
  • Youth educational materials, including orientation handbooks, need to be kept up-to-date with current agency and facility practice.
  • IDJJ’s new confinement policies, which limit the use and duration, are reportedly in place in Chicago, JHA looks forward to seeing the data from the recently implemented tracking process.
  • Youth who have received their GED or high school diploma often sit idly during school hours at Chicago because there are no vocational opportunities for them.
  • Chicago has improved its provision of special education services for youth that come into the facility already identified as a student with a disability. However, IDJJ has not yet achieved compliance with Federal law mandating that schools identify and evaluate students who may need special education services.




The John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has funded the John Howard Association of Illinois to monitor IDJJ’s facilities.