Being charged with a crime can have drastic effects on any person. However, a criminal charge can have even more profound effects on juveniles. Juveniles have their entire lives ahead of them, and any criminal charge can do irreversible damage to their reputation and record. However, steps are being taken in Illinois that may help those that have been charged with juvenile crimes.
According to recent statistics, about 70 percent of juveniles arrested in the state of Illinois have possible mental health issues. Citing these statistics, some say that it would be more helpful for juveniles to get treatment rather than the punishment of jail time. Advocates are calling on lawmakers to implement changes. One proposed plan would allow officers to write citations to eight to 17-year-olds who commit misdemeanors instead of taking these juveniles to jail.
Another glaring issue is the shortage of mental health treatment programs in Illinois. Advocates say this, coupled with the high percentage of mental health conditions in arrested juveniles, shows a big need for mental health services in communities across the state. Those that support the proposed changes say that the incarceration of juveniles has not made the state safer, but has only taken kids away from their families and removed possible future contributing members of society.
Facing a criminal charge can be a frightening experience for anyone, no matter the age. Those in Illinois who have been charged with juvenile crimes can seek legal guidance in an attempt to achieve the best possible outcome. An experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer offer guidance and protect a person’s rights throughout legal proceedings.
Source: publicnewsservice.org, “Stemming the Tide of Youth in Prison“, Veronica Carter, April 9, 2018