Report  |  Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice in Illinois, 2014

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High profile crimes committed by juveniles tend to influence public perception of juvenile crime.1 National and Illinois data, however, show juvenile crime has dropped over the last 10 years.2 Only 2 percent of the juvenile population was arrested in 2014 and fewer moved deeper into the system.

Authority researchers used data to provide an overview of Illinois juvenile justice system processes for 2014, with 10-year trend analyses when possible. Processing points examined included: arrest, detention, court, and corrections. The analyses revealed decreases in the statewide figures across all of the data points examined, indicating that fewer youth were entering and moving through the juvenile justice system in 2014 than 10 years ago. Below are some of the specific key findings noted.

Key findings

Black youth continued to be disproportionately represented in the Illinois juvenile justice system in 2014.

  • Although Blacks comprised 18% of the youth population aged 10 to 17 years, they accounted for 61% of juvenile arrests, 62 percent of detention admissions, and 66% of commitments to state juvenile correctional facilities.

Gender differences continued to exist in 2014.

  • Males accounted for the largest percentage of youth moving through the juvenile justice system.
  • Females were more likely than males to be arrested as well as committed to IDJJ for less serious offenses.
  • Between 2005 and 2014, the juvenile arrest rate decreased in Illinois.
  • The arrest rate of youth decreased 31% statewide. Regional declines were also noted.
  • Most juvenile arrests in Illinois (75%) were for non-felony offenses in 2014.
  • In 2014, property crimes accounted for the largest percentage of all juvenile arrests (31%) and felony arrests (39%).
  • Arrests in 2014 typically involved males, Black youth, and individuals 16 to 17 years of age.

Between 2005 and 2014, the juvenile arrest rate decreased in Illinois.

  • The arrest rate of youth decreased 31% statewide. Regional declines were also noted.
  • Most juvenile arrests in Illinois (75%) were for non-felony offenses in 2014.
  • In 2014, property crimes accounted for the largest percentage of all juvenile arrests (31%) and felony arrests (39%).
  • Arrests in 2014 typically involved males, Black youth, and individuals 16 to 17 years of age.

The detention admission rate in Illinois fell from 2008 to 2014.

  • The statewide admission rate to secure detention decreased 16% from 2008 to 2014. Declines were noted across all regions of the state.
  • Although declines from 2008 to 2014 were noted, there was a recent one year uptick in detention admissions from 2013 to 2014 statewide and across most regions of the state.
  • In 2014, youth admitted on a warrant accounted for the largest percentage of admissions to detention (28%), followed by violent (25%) and property (19%) crimes.
  • Most youth admitted to detention in 2014 were male, Black, and 16 years or older.

Decreases also were noted from 2005 to 2014 in informal probation, petition, adjudication, and probation caseload rates.

  • Decreases were noted statewide and across all of the regions examined.

The admission rate to juvenile correctional facilities declined from 2005 to 2014.

  • The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) admission rate decreased 33% between state fiscal years (SFY) 2005 and 2014.
  • Unlike other regions of the state, which experienced overall declines in their IDJJ admission rates, Cook County experienced an 8% increase.
  • Property offenses accounted for the largest percentage of admissions to IDJJ (42%) in SFY14, followed by person offenses (31%).
  • Males, Black youth, and individuals ages 17 to 20 accounted for the largest percentages of youth entering IDJJ in SFY14.3

  1. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (2014). Juvenile offenders and victims: 2014 national report.
  2. Illinois State Police. (2014). *Crime in Illinois 2014.; Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2014). *Crime in the U.S.; Note: The national decrease could be due to fewer agencies reporting data rather than decreases in criminal activity. In addition, 2013 and 2014 numbers were preliminary estimates.
  3. 2008 is the first year of available data.

Erica Hughes

Erica Hughes was an Authority research analyst. She received a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources and Family Studies at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice at University of Illinois Chicago. Her areas of interest include juvenile justice, victims, victim services, and college campus crime. Ms. Hughes was with the Authority since 1998.

Juvenile Justice in Illinois, 2014