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ERIC Number: ED452318
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Drugs and Disparity: The Racial Impact of Illinois' Practice of Transferring Young Drug Offenders to Adult Court. Building Blocks for Youth.
Ziedenberg, Jason
This report describes the racial impact of Illinois' practice of transferring young drug offenders to adult court. The state's Safe School Zone Act of 1986 and subsequent bills enacted by the legislature provide that youth age 15-16 years charged with drug sales within 1,000 feet of a school or public housing development are automatically prosecuted as adults. The vast majority of public housing is located in Cook County, where 74 percent of Illinois' African American juvenile population lives, and the close proximity of schools and housing projects creates a tight web of places within 1,000 feet of the safe zones. As a result, 99 percent of Cook County youth transferred to adult court for drug crimes are African American or Hispanic, though White youth in the state are just as likely, or more likely to sell and use illegal drugs. This analysis shows that Illinois' automatic transfer laws are depriving minority youth of the chances they could be afforded in the juvenile court system. It focuses on: (1) racial disparities and drug policy; (2) Illinois' automatic transfer law (legislative exclusion of nonviolent youth drug offenders from juvenile courts); (3) the impact of the automatic transfer law in Cook County; (4) the Chicago Reporter/WBEZ analysis of the situation; (5) Cook County Public Defender Juvenile Transfer Advocacy Unit data on the situation; (6) National Corrections Reporting Program data showing that 99 percent of new youth drug prison admissions in Illinois are non-White; and (7) the impact of adult incarceration on youth. (Contains 22 endnotes.) (SM)
Building Blocks for Youth, Youth Law Center, 1010 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Suite 310, Washington, DC 20005-4902. Tel: 202-637-0377; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Open Society Inst., New York, NY.; Grant (W.T.) Foundation, New York, NY.; Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.; Ford Foundation, New York, NY.; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Mott (C.S.) Foundation, Flint, MI.; Rockefeller Foundation, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Washington, DC. Justice Policy Institute.
Identifiers - Location: Illinois