Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed juvenile justice reform legislation Tuesday that will end the automatic transfer of 15 year-olds to adult court.
The bill, which takes effect in January, also prevents such automatic transfers for 16 and 17 year-olds, unless they have been charged with first-degree murder and other serious crimes.
As part of the reforms that were approved by Rauner, juvenile offenders would also be kept out of state facilities for misdemeanors.
“For most juvenile offenders, especially those who have committed non-violent crimes, we see better outcomes and lower rates of recidivism when they are able to live in the community and attend school, rather than being detained in a facility far from home,” said the legislation’s sponsor, State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago).
Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle also advocated for the legislation.
Last month, Rauner signed another juvenile justice reform measure that will end mandatory life-without-parole sentences for those under the age of 18. That measure also goes into effect January 1.