Illinois Justice Project




Illinois Juvenile Justice Leadership COUNCIL.

The Illinois Justice Project staffs and facilitates the Juvenile Justice Leadership Council (ILLJC), a quarterly meeting of key Illinois juvenile justice leaders and decision-makers, service providers, government and reform advocates. The council is chaired by Illinois Supreme Court Justices Rita B. Garman and Anne M. Burke and the Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice Heidi Mueller.

The IJJLC has five workgroups to address priority issues identified by the council members. Ongoing workgroup projects include:

  • Utilizing a toolkit for engaging families in their child's education at juvenile justice detention centers and prisons.
  • Developing a diversion checklist for local juvenile justice councils to enhance community–based diversion programs in local jurisdictions.
  • Advising on statewide judicial education on juvenile issues.
  • Working with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority to develop priority data questions to drive juvenile justice research.
  • Supporting juvenile court judges who comply with the 2012 state statute, which mandates: “Commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice is the least restrictive alternative based on evidence that efforts were made to locate less restrictive alternatives to secure confinement and the reasons why efforts were unsuccessful in locating a less restrictive alternative to secure confinement.”


ILJP Journalism Seminar

ILJP designs and hosts seminars providing Illinois journalists with information about the latest criminal justice research, the impact of reforms in other states and jurisdictions within Illinois and on-going efforts in Illinois to change policy and practices.

The Collaborative

Each year, ILJP staffs the annual meeting of the Collaborative, a group of about 150 stakeholders at the local and state levels, community representatives, and formerly incarcerated individuals advocating criminal justice reform. The Collaborative explores a new topic each year, with the goal of developing rigorous research, discussion, and analysis of policy goals to improve the justice system in partnership with the advocacy, government, and policymaking communities.

Featured speakers have included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senate President John Cullerton, U.S Senator Richard Durbin, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Governor Pat Quinn, Presiding Judge of the Cook County Juvenile Division Michael Toomin, Former U.S. Attorney and current Chief of Staff to Governer Bruce Rauner Rodger Heaton, Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and numerous members of the Illinois General Assembly.

The topic of the 2017 Collaborative was the flow of illegal guns that fuels the murder and trauma in our cities. The event focused on understanding why young adults choose to pick up guns, public health approaches to treat trauma, policy solutions to reduce gun violence like gun dealer licensing and law enforcement’s perspective on the gun violence crisis.

In 2016, the Collaborative examined policy strategies to reduce the overuse of jails and detention centers. Specifically, the Collaborative included speeches, presentations and panel discussions from national practitioners, state policy makers, local experts and others on how Illinois can reform its cash bail system to reduce pretrial detention and implement reform to reduce juvenile detention.

Past Collaborative Agendas:

The Collaborative typically takes place in early October. If you are interested in being invited to the 2018 meeting, please e-mail us at