impact of Illinois’ automatic transfer laws. Of the 257 juveniles automatically transferred during
the time of the study, eighty-three percent were African-American, while only one Caucasian
youth was automatically transferred.47 The push to eliminate automatic juvenile transfer in Illinois
received a boost when Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, citing the new study and
its impact on minority youth, threw her support behind the abolition of transfer.48 Ultimately this
public-private partnership was successful in securing passage of a bill that significantly curtails
the use of automatic transfer in Illinois.49 Specifically, the legislation eliminates automatic transfer
for all fifteen-year-olds and limits the legislative transfer of sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds to
the most serious offenses.50
2. Reduced Reliance on Secure Confinement
In the early days of the Models for Change initiative, youth who were sentenced to a term
of secure confinement were sent to one of eight youth facilities operated by the Illinois Department
of Corrections. Juvenile reform advocates were concerned about the lack of developmentally
appropriate treatment and services for young people imprisoned in a system built and run for
adults. As a result of their efforts, in 2006 the state legislature uncoupled youth corrections from
the adult system and established the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.51 At the time, the new
Department’s average daily population was approximately 1,400 youth, with predictions that the
number would grow significantly in the future. Instead, as a result of a series of several mutually-
reinforcing changes in Illinois law and policy, the Department’s census has been reduced by one-
half.52 That number is expected to decline further as a result of recent legislation limiting
commitments to the Department.53
i. Redeploy Illinois
An initial step in the effort to reduce Illinois’ reliance on secure confinement was the
establishment of a pilot program known as Redeploy Illinois.54 Prior to the Redeploy initiative, if
a sentencing judge sent a youth to the state-run juvenile corrections system, the state would be
responsible for all costs associated with his or her commitment.55 This approach created a perverse
47 Id. at 12.
48 John Byrne, Preckwinkle Calls for End to Automatic Transfers of Minors to Adult Court, CHI. TRIBUNE (Dec. 12,
49 Public Act 99-0258 (2016) (to be codified as amended in scattered sections of 705 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 405/).
50 Id. Under the new legislation, juvenile court judges have discretion, upon the state’s motion and after a hearing, to
transfer sixteen-and seventeen-year olds for adult prosecution. The only exceptions are for youth charged with first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and aggravated battery with a firearm. These youth remain subject
to automatic transfer.
51 Public Act 94-0696 (2005) (codified as amended at 20 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN 5/5-15 (West 2015)).
52 See 2015 ANNUAL REPORT, ILL. DEP’T OF JUVENILE JUSTICE 2 (2015) (listing the Department’s daily population for
FY 2015 at 725 youth in six secure facilities).
53 See Public Act 99-0268 (2016) (to be codified as amended at 705 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 405/5-710 and 5-750).
(prohibiting judges from committing youth found guilty of a misdemeanor and limiting the amount of time a youth
can serve a sentence in secure confinement to that allowable for an adult committed for the same offense).
54 See generally Redeploy Illinois, ILL. DEP’T OF HUMAN SERV.,
(last visited February 26, 2016) [hereinafter Redeploy].
55 See JASMINE L. TYLER, JASON ZIEDENBERG, AND ERIC LOTKE, COST EFFECTIVE CORRECTIONS: THE FISCAL
ARCHITECTURE OF RATIONAL JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEMS 1, 19–23 (Justice Policy Inst. ed., 2006) (citing the problem