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Evaluation of the Implementation of Juvenile Justice Reforms in Illinois

NCJ Number
On Good Authority Volume: 5 Issue: 5 Dated: June 2002 Pages: 1-4
Timothy Lavery
Date Published
June 2002
4 pages
This document provides the results of an evaluation of the Juvenile Justice Reform Provisions throughout the State of Illinois.
The Juvenile Justice Reform Provisions of 1998 made changes to the juvenile justice system and the Illinois Juvenile Court Act. One change was the addition of a new policy statement to the Act, which adopted balanced and restorative justice (BARJ) as a guiding philosophy of the juvenile justice system. A survey was conducted of juvenile justice officials from different parts of the system, including police, probation officers, prosecutors, judges, and public defenders. These results focus on survey respondents’ knowledge and awareness of the reform provisions and BARJ. BARJ encourages juvenile offenders to provide direct reparations to victims and to the community. This allows victims and the community to become directly involved in the process of determining juvenile dispositions. Of the various professions in the juvenile justice system, results showed that probation officers were most likely to have attended a reform provision training session, followed by state’s attorneys. Fewer than 60 percent of the respondents from each profession strongly agreed or agreed that they were knowledgeable on the reform provisions. There is a similar pattern of results for overall knowledge of BARJ. Some juvenile justice professionals, when asked about the purpose of the reform provisions, focused on the punishment or accountability aspects rather than the aspects consistent with BARJ. A minority of Illinois countries has convened juvenile justice councils, which are collaborative groups of juvenile justice professionals that come together to address juvenile crime in their county. A minority of counties has also developed teen courts or community mediation programs as a result of the reform provisions. In teen court programs, peer volunteers rather than adults determine juvenile dispositions. In community mediation programs, community members determine juvenile dispositions. 2 figures