New Illinois bill benefits those convicted of juvenile crimes

For many people, adolescence is a time of discovery and a time to create memories worthy of reminiscence later in life. However, the exuberance and immaturity of adolescents can often contribute to regrettable actions. Crime among the juvenile population continues to be an ongoing problem in Illinois and across the country. Unfortunately, those charged with juvenile crimes can potentially suffer lifelong consequences for one mistake. New legislature in Illinois may help those juveniles who have been convicted.

A new bill was recently passed by Illinois legislature that would give parole eligibility for those who were convicted of crimes before they were 21 years of age. Since 1978, Illinois law prevented prisoners from seeking parole regardless of how young they were. Under the new bill, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board would have the authority to determine whether juvenile offenders would be eligible for parole.

Courts have been questioning in recent years if juvenile offenders should be treated the same as adults. According to research, the human brain is continuing to develop well into a person’s 20s. Advocates say the timing is right for the bill, and that it should be understood that young minds are different than mature adult minds.

Should a person be punished for a lifetime for a minor mistake made while still technically a child? More and more states are saying no to this question and adopting new laws designed to help and mentor troubled youth. In Illinois, those who have been charged with juvenile crimes have a right to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can review a person’s case and determine a strategy for the best outcome while protecting personal rights.