Illinois 'Champions' Honored By Juvenile Justice Initiative
An awards ceremony will be held Thursday night to honor those who work tirelessly to defend the rights of young people in the Illinois criminal justice system.
A lot of progress has been made in Illinois, said Elizabeth Clarke, director at the Juvenile Justice Initiative, including a recent law requiring that children under age 15 have a lawyer present when they are questioned by police, and that those sessions are videotaped. And according to Clarke, the number of juveniles incarcerated in the state has declined overall.
"We've cut it back by two-thirds and have closed three of the eight juvenile prisons," she said. "We have gotten children out of the adult court; we've raised the age from 17 to 18. So 17-year-olds are tried in the juvenile court. We ended automatic adult prosecution for children charged with drug offenses."