A new law signed by Governor Bruce Rauner will limit the amount of juveniles being automatically transferred to adult court. The law eliminates the transfer of 15-year-olds accused of any crime. Those who are 16 and 17 years old will only be transferred if they are charged with murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery with a firearm.
The legislation ensures juveniles have their cases heard before a juvenile court judge who can consider mitigating factors such as background, mental capacity and culpability before deciding whether the case should be transferred to adult court.
Rauner also signed legislation that will end the practice of committing offenders to Juvenile Justice Department facilities for misdemeanor offenses. This will ensure that no minor will be confined for longer than an adult would be incarcerated for the same offense. Also, no minor will be detained in a county jail for committing an act that wouldn’t be illegal if an adult engaged in it.
The laws will take effect in January.