The ACLU of Illinois, collaborated with the Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI) on House Bill 2404, which would allow 17 year olds charged with felonies not sibject to automatic trial in adult court to be treated as juveniles. There are several benefits to this long-sought policy change that will improve the outcomes of 17 year olds facing prosecution.

Raising the age would provide better public safety outcomes. Youth tried as adults are found to be 34% more likely to reoffend. Juvenile court jurisdiction benefits include mental health, drug treatment and community based services, which should be available to all 17 year olds. Moreover, an adult felony conviction poses a significant barrier to financial aid, housing and employment opportunities.

Read the letter from the ACLU of Illinois' Legislative Director Mary Dixon to Governor Pat Quinn, urging him to sign the bill into law.