A new Illinois law will hopefully curb the student-to-prison pipeline in the state requires 17-year-olds to be turned over to the juvenile courts instead of adult law facilities.
The law sets the bar for felony prosecution to age 18.
A little more than a year ago, The Chicago Reporter revealed that Chicago police trumped all of the nation’s biggest cities when it came to arresting 17 year olds. Arrests in Chicago rivaled the number of teens charged with a crime in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Houston combined.
From the beginning of 2007 through the first few months of 2012 alone, more than 4,300 minors became felons in Cook County–before they were old enough to smoke, vote or even visit a doctor on their own.
Most of the cases involved African American males who were charged with nonviolent crimes. Teens often missed days, weeks and sometimes months of school, falling behind in their studies because they were locked up or in court.
But the new law makes it possible for teens to not be detained in standard adult jail facilities, giving youth a chance to seal their mistakes and avoid felony convictions.
What do you think of Illinois’ law requiring 17-year-olds to appear in juvenile courts?
Do you see it having a significant impact on the school-to-prison pipeline?
Sound off below!