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General Assembly approves criminal sentencing reforms for minors

By Andre Adams, Capitol News Illinois | May 11, 2023

Illinois lawmakers recently approved criminal sentencing reforms expanding considerations for minors who have experienced abuse or involvement in the child welfare system. The reforms are based on laws in other jurisdictions inspired by the experience of Stoneleigh Fellow Sara Kruzan.

CHICAGO – Illinois lawmakers have approved a measure that reforms criminal sentencing for minors, particularly victims of child sex trafficking.

House Bill 3414 adds to the factors that judges must consider in the process of sentencing children found guilty of a crime. The bill would require a judge to consider a child’s involvement in the child welfare system, whether they have a history of domestic abuse or sexual exploitation and the results of any mental health evaluations the child has gone through. This is in addition to existing factors that judges already consider, such as age, maturity and potential for rehabilitation.

The bill also creates a method for judges to depart from sentencing guidelines, including mandatory minimums, or to transfer a minor offender to juvenile court for sentencing.

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