A new report is calling for changes to the way Illinois teenagers are charged with serious crimes. The report looked at the cases of 257 people under 17 in Cook County,
who were charged as adults because the crimes were serious. Once they got to adult court those charges often were reduced. And that reduced charge would not have been serious enough to land them in adult court. They still received adult court sentences. Some went to adult prison. Elizabeth Clarke is with the Juvenile Justice Initiative, which conducted the research.
Clarke also found the majority of juveniles charged as adults are kids of color. And 90 percent of those who were transferred to adult court pleaded guilty. Meantime, there is proposed state legislation to put young people charged as adults in front of juvenile judges so their cases can be evaluated earlier.
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