SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As the rate of first-time admittance to Department of Juvenile Justice facilities continues to decrease, state Rep. Curtis Tarver, D-Chicago, is working to implement best practices to help youth in detention centers successfully reintegrate into the community after they’ve served their sentences.

“The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice stresses its mission of supporting youth in custody by providing educational and behavioral health treatment on an individualized basis so these young people have a shot at a successful life after they’re released,” Tarver said. “The fact that 87 percent of young people released from DJJ custody end up getting rearrested within three years – and that figure is higher for black youth – shows that we are totally missing the mark.”

Tarver is the primary sponsor of House Bill 3701, which seeks to eliminate red tape that has prevented the Department of Juvenile Justice from filling the growing amount of teacher vacancies in youth correctional facilities. This measure requires DJJ’s quarterly report to the Illinois Governor and General Assembly to include updated staff-to-youth ratios, information that is vital for the budgeting process in light of increasing instances of violence and harassment against employees and other youth due to inadequate staffing levels and a lack of consistent programming. Additionally, the legislation clarifies when and if DJJ is responsible for youth that have been committed to the Department if he or she receives adult charges from the Illinois Department of Corrections, the Federal government or other states, ensuring that the correct agency is held accountable for the care and supervision of that minor.

“While we’ve been successful at diverting young people who’ve had run-ins with the law from being committed to a youth correctional facility unless it’s absolutely necessary, we’ve failed to equip these facilities with the resources they need to help the youth in our state who are most at-risk of being incarcerated as adults,” Tarver said. “Juvenile justice advocates and DJJ employees have consistently said that hiring more staff to provide education and other programming is necessary to make the environment a safe place for learning and treatment. We absolutely must eliminate barriers to hiring teachers and other staff to help our kids stay safe and get back on the right track.”

Rep. Curtis TarverRep. Curtis Tarver

25th District

Springfield Office:
264-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8121

District Office:
1303 E 53rd St.
Chicago, IL 60615
(872) 356-2055