Just released: JHA's Next Steps on the Path to Juvenile Justice Reform Part I
May 15, 2017: JHA releases the first installment in our three-part report series on "Next Steps on the Path of Juvenile Justice Reform." These reports focus on increasing independent oversight of Illinois' juvenile detention facilities and juvenile courts, and ensuring youths' rights to meaningful access to the courts and counsel are met. Part I of this report looks specifically at the need for independent monitoring of county juvenile detention facilities.
While Illinois has been moving towards a juvenile justice system that is grounded in best practices and evidence-based interventions which are informed by the science of adolescent development, the light cast by these statewide reforms throws other, longstanding problems in Illinois' juvenile justice system into sharper relief. As more and more delinquent youth are diverted from IDJJ commitment, and instead are handled at the county and community level, the need for independent monitoring is imperative to ensure that county detention facilities and community interventions are safe, legal, and humane. Unlike Illinois' adult and juvenile prisons, which have a history of independent monitoring by JHA as an outside entity, county juvenile detention centers historically have operated without independent monitoring, leaving them insulated from meaningful public scrutiny and evaluation.
JHA recommends that in compliance with national and international human rights principles, juvenile justice standards and correctional best practices, all county juvenile detention facilities should be subject to comprehensive oversight and public reporting by independent monitoring entities.
Parts II and III of this report are forthcoming.