For Some Youths, "Minor Offenses" Lead to Major Sentences in Adult Prison
Date:  10-27-2017

Cases threaten to undermine Illinois' efforts at juvenile justice reform
From ProPublica Illinois:

Seventeen-year-old Jaylan Banks punched a guard at the Illinois Youth Center at Harrisburg as they struggled over a bottle of body wash. David Hayes, 18, spat in a guard’s face. And 18-year-old Lavell Staples was accused of shoving a guard as he tried to force his way out of his room.

A few years ago, these incidents would have cost the teenagers their privileges, earned them a stint in solitary confinement or added time to their juvenile sentences. But these young men are among almost a dozen from the Harrisburg facility who now face substantial sentences in adult prison instead, a penalty even state officials call troubling and at odds with a court-ordered push to make the juvenile justice system more rehabilitative.

Staples began serving a four-year term last month. Hayes was sentenced to six years. And Banks received eight years. Continue reading >>>