Report calls for changes to how Il teens are charged with serious crimes

Apr 22, 2014

Young people who are charged with serious crimes can be treated as adults by the courts system in Illinois. But an Illinois state representative is pushing to put those young people in front of juvenile court judges.

A new report shows juveniles charged as adults still end up in adult prisons. The report also shows 90 percent of young people charged as adults plead guilty.

Elaine Nekritz is a Democrat from Chicago’s northern suburbs.

"The charging decision makes a big difference as to what the outcome is for any particular child and if you start out with them in a situation where they’re charged as an adult and charged with a very serious crime, they’re of course going to plea because they just really don’t have a lot of options there," says Nekritz.

Nekritz says if juvenile court judges see the young person earlier, the judge can make better decisions about how the criminal case should proceed.