Reports and Publications
The Northwestern School of Law Bluhm Legal Clinic has released Combating Gun Violence in Illinois: Evidence-Based Solutions on behalf of more than 30 law and social science professors from universities throughout Illinois.
Gun violence and gun sentencing disproportionately affect young people in Illinois. The report is a significant contribution to the current public debate about whether sentencing law changes can reduce gun violence.
Children and Family Justice Center Clinical Fellow Stephanie Kollmann co-authored the report with Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Dominique Nong, Kenneth & Harle Montgomery Foundation Clinical Fellow. CFJC clinic students Jamie Liebert, Brendan Mooney, Rebba Omer, and Brett Werenski conducted valuable research.
To contact Dominique Nong about this report, please email: dominique.nong [at] law.northwestern.edu
On October 30, 2013, CFJC director Julie Biehl testified to the Illinois House Restorative Justice Committee. In light of recent reports highlighting issues of physical and sexual victimization of incarcerated children and deficient education and mental health services, her testimony outlined a framework for addressing conditions in youth facilities by providing advocacy and reducing population.
In a recent federal report on sexual victimization of youth in state correctional facilities, Illinois facilities had one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the country, ranking 5 percentage points above the national average and in the top ten worst facilities for abuse. In response to these findings, the House Restorative Justice Committee convened an emergency hearing to discuss the report on sexual victimization and the state's measures to protect youth in custody.
CFJC director Julie Biehl was invited to testify at the hearing. Her testimony discusses the harm of incarceration and the need to provide incarcerated youth with access to counsel.
"Our society has grown increasingly aware that persons who are institutionalized in large, 24-hour facilities are at heightened risk of maltreatment or abuse by caregivers, and that teenagers in the community are frequently targeted for abuse by teachers, coaches, pastors, or other authority figures, particularly in “closed,” secrecy-promoting settings. These familiar risks are compounded many times over when the facilities are escape-proof and are so far away from family homes that parental visits are rare. "
Read CFJC director Julie Biehl's full testimony!
After extensive research and analysis, the first report recommends raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to accommodate 17-year-olds as it does 16-year-olds.
Currently, Illinois is the only state with a bifurcated system whereby 17- year-olds charged with a misdemeanor are tried in juvenile court, while all 17- year-olds charged with a felony are tried in criminal court regardless of the seriousness of the offense.
On May 14th, HB 2404, the Raise the Age Bill, was passed by the Illinois Senate in an overwhelmingly bi-partisan vote of 40-10. This bill was based upon the report written by CFJC's Stephanie Kollmann and our clinic student law students. On July 8th, Governor Pat Quinn signed HB 2404.
-Studying Juvenile Sex Offenders (pdf)
This report is a thorough examination of juvenile sex offenders, raising important questions such as:
- Who are they?
- What are the behaviors that give rise to their being charged with a sex offense?
- How do we, and how should we, punish, rehabilitate, and treat young people adjudicated delinquent for sex offenses?
- What are the current collateral consequences for being found delinquent of a juvenile sex offense, and what should they be?