New Illinois law bans mandatory minimum penalties, isolation rooms for juvenile offenders

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Friday which removes mandatory minimum sentences and bans the use of isolation room confinement for juvenile offenders,

“Our Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice is continuing its transformational work to build a system that nurtures our young people, supports their growth, and fosters a successful return to a welcoming community,” said Pritzker.

House Bill 3513 enhances procedural justice by removing mandatory penalties that create longer sentences for younger teens than for older youth who commit the same offenses.  Youth labeled as Habitual Juvenile Offenders or Violent Offenders will no longer be committed until age 21, but instead will receive a proportionate extension to their stay at IDJJ. The bill also clarifies concurrent sentencing, so that calculating sentences is done uniformly for youth across the state.

It also prohibits the use of using isolation or room confinement as punishment for wayward youth behavior.

The Governor’s office said the move would advance racial equity in the prison system.

“Passing the Procedural Justice Act is a restorative justice policy that seeks to repair systemic harm by enhancing equity in sentencing for youth and eliminating the use of room confinement as a punitive measure,” said Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton.

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