The state's Department of Juvenile Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union have laid out a blueprint designed to help tackle issues at six Illinois youth detention facilities.
The state-focused plan comes in response to an investigation concerning a number of issues at the Chicago, Harrisburg, Kewanee, Pere Marquette, St. Charles and Warrenville juvenile detention centers. The findings of the investigation were presented in a September report issued by a panel of experts. A 2012 lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the state lead to a settlement requiring the investigation into the conditions at the facilities.
The plan, which was filed in a Northern District Court on Friday, calls for a five-hour school day for the youth. There would also have to be a youth-to-staff ratio of 10 students to 1 teacher for each class. In its September report, the panel noted that a lack of staffers contributed to fewer studying opportunities for the youth.
Under the blueprint, youth in the facilities would have to be allowed eight hours of time out of their rooms each day. A psychologist tasked with looking after mental health services at the six centers would have to brought on board by the juvenile justice department, which would also be required to ramp up the number of mental health and security personnel at the facilities. Solitary confinement used as a punishment would be prohibited under the plan and staffers would have to participate in training focused on safeguarding LGBT youth, among other requirements.
The Department of Juvenile Justice is "pleased to reach an agreement without further litigation and be moving forward," Alka Nayyar, the agency's spokeswoman, told the Associated Press.
Experts appointed by the court would be responsible for overseeing the blueprint if it is approved by a judge.
Click through for more on the plan as well as the September panel report.