Ill. praised for juvenile justice changes

CHICAGO (AP) - An organization that advocates keeping juveniles out of the adult court system is applauding Illinois for recent legislative changes.

The Campaign for Youth Justice tracked state trends in juvenile justice from 2005 to 2010.

The campaign says Illinois is 1 of 3 states that no longer automatically filters 17-year-olds charged with misdemeanors into the adult system. The change became effective Jan. 1, 2010.

The campaign says the policy allows teens accused of minor crimes to have access to mental health and drug treatment in the juvenile system that isn't available to adults.

Illinois has also ended its policy of automatically transferring youth charged with drug offenses to adult court.

The Campaign for Youth Justice says separate systems for youth can prevent crime and save money.

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