information provided by the Office of the Governor
CHICAGO, Ill. (August 2, 2020) – Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton announced the 21st Century Illinois Transformation Model, a new plan that will transform the state’s juvenile justice system over the next four years. The Model focuses on reducing the harm of incarceration by transitioning youth to small, regional residential centers, investing significantly in community wraparound support and intervention services for justice involved youth, and increasing financial support for victim services in communities that are disproportionately impacted by violence.
The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), in partnership with the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Initiative (JEO), utilized decades of evidence from across the country and within its own system to create the plan with the goal of achieving meaningful transformation, better youth outcomes, and increased community safety.
“An essential tenet of good governance is recognizing the need to change the laws that have failed the people they serve—some by design. It means doing everything in our power to reverse the tide,” said Governor Pritzker. “It’s in that spirit that over the next four years, my administration is transforming our juvenile justice system from one that disproportionately harms Black youth, families, and communities to a nation-leading, restorative, and therapeutic model that supports all Illinois youth, families, and communities more equitably. We’ve developed this model based on decades of research—and I’m particularly proud that here in Illinois, we will be working directly with youth and families who have been impacted by the system as it has existed for years.”
Larger DJJ facilities will be repurposed for use by the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide additional space and prevent overcrowding in their facilities. Current DJJ staff will continue to work in the department or in similar roles at the DOC.
Phase I of the Model marks the beginning of increased community investment in wraparound support, intervention services, and reentry programs for justice involved youth. Additional investments are planned for victim services in communities that are disproportionately impacted by violence and disinvestment.
New Life Centers and their Urban Life Skills program, Youth Advocate Programs Inc. (YAP), Youth Build, and Youth Outreach Services (YOS) are key community partners helping DJJ bridge the gap between the Illinois Youth Centers and the youth’s communities of origin.
Phase II & III, slated to begin next year, will continue the regional reinvestments and start the process of transferring DJJ’s larger facilities to the Illinois Department of Corrections.
To learn more about the Department of Juvenile Justice, visit www2.illinois.gov/idjj/Pages/default.aspx.