Crime among adolescents and juveniles has been a problem in America for decades. In recent years, juvenile crimes have continued to increase across the state of Illinois and many other states in America. It’s no secret that reform is needed, and some feel that the solution for bucking this trend could begin with updated legislature to address an outdated system. Illinois is at the forefront of a movement to raise the age of juvenile justice systems.
At least nine states, including Illinois, are considering proposals to expand the jurisdiction of juvenile justice systems. Several years ago, the state of Illinois raised the age of juvenile crimes to age 18. However, legislation that is currently in the works would raise the juvenile jurisdiction age to 21 for misdemeanor offenses.
Supporters say juveniles would benefit more from rehabilitation rather than stern punishment. Juveniles should be given a chance to learn from their mistakes, advocates say. By raising the age for juvenile offenses, many juveniles could be given a second chance at life.
The new legislation being introduced across the country is definitely a step in the right direction for youth justice reform. Adolescence is commonly a time of rebellion, and one wrong decision can do irreversible damage, affecting a juvenile for the rest of his or her life. Those in Illinois who have been charged with juvenile crimes have the right to seek legal counsel. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can increase one’s odds of achieving the best possible outcome while protecting personal rights throughout this stressful process.