Senate Bill 92, sponsored by Rep. Annazette Collins, D-Chicago,
and Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, separates the juvenile justice
division from within the Department of Corrections and makes it its
own agency. The legislation received final approval in the General
Assembly last week during the fall veto session.
"The new Juvenile
Justice Department will give troubled kids the help they need to
make sure a brush with the law in their youth doesn't lead to a
lifetime of crime and incarceration," Blagojevich said. "This year,
the state reported the largest decline in juvenile parole violations
on record. This new law will help us continue this trend and get
these kids on the right path."
"I would like to thank Governor Rod Blagojevich for recognizing
the importance of this legislation by signing it into law so
quickly," said Collins, who sponsored the bill in the House. "I
would also like to commend the governor for his continued commitment
to our children by pushing for additional funds for early childhood
education, more funds for school funding, initiating the All Kids
program and now for helping juveniles that are part of the
correctional system get the necessary skills in order to succeed in
life. Governor Rod Blagojevich is truly a 'governor for kids.'"
"This law is a new start with a new mind-set regarding juvenile
justice in Illinois," said Cullerton, sponsor in the Senate.
"Establishing a separate department will do more to reduce crime and
rehabilitate juveniles, rather than placing them in a system where
they become hardened criminals."
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There are approximately 1,400 juveniles incarcerated within the
Illinois Department of Corrections, and nearly 47 percent of
juvenile offenders return to the system. By creating a separate
Department of Juvenile Justice, young offenders will receive
individualized services, including educational, vocational, social
and emotional services that will help enable them to become
productive adults. It's expected that the new department will help
reduce the number of juvenile offenders who return to the juvenile
In addition to the services provided inside juvenile facilities,
the new department will also provide transitional and post-release
treatment programs for juveniles, including counseling, mental
health and substance abuse services.
Senate Bill 92 moves eight juvenile facilities and the Department
of Corrections School District into the new department. The new
department is "budget-neutral," meaning its funding, approximately
$125 million, will simply be transferred from the existing budget in
the Department of Corrections.
Illinois joins 39 other states that currently separate their
juvenile and adult corrections systems. Implementation of the new
agency will begin on July 1, 2006.
[News release from the governor's