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Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission Youth Reentry Improvement Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2011
80 pages
The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission (IJJC) presents its findings on the current systemic failures of the State's juvenile justice reentry system.
The IJJC concludes that the current release decisionmaking process for youth undermines the rehabilitation and public safety goals of the Illinois juvenile justice system. Release is largely dictated by a youth's committing offense and alleged disciplinary violations while incarcerated. It should be determined by an informed, objective determination that it is in the best interest of the youth and the public for the youth to be released. In addition, there is no independent review mechanism that assesses or documents the youth's rehabilitative progress and the appropriateness of continued incarceration. Further, parole conditions that restrict movement, prohibit activities, and mandate programs or services are established without evidence that they are needed and without support to encourage their completion. Another major finding is that youths' constitutional due process protections are violated by the basic structure and process of Prisoner Review Board revocation proceedings. The IJJC also determined that the current parole system, which is operated by the Department of Corrections' adult parole division, is costly and ineffective at sustaining prosocial behaviors, enhancing public safety, and reducing recidivism. In addition, the IJJC concludes that the Department of Juvenile Justice youth tracking software is antiquated and fails to manage effectively youth assessments, programming progress, and public safety monitoring. Three recommendations for reform are offered by the IJJC. First, youth must be prepared for timely release, and qualified members of the Prisoner Review Board must increase the frequency and quality of release hearings. Second, the current adult parole surveillance model for juveniles should be replaced by a statewide extension of the Department of Juvenile Justice's Aftercare Specialist pilot program. Third, a court must make parole revocation determinations. Appended supplementary data and information