Rauner signs legislation reforming juvenile justice system

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that would end automatic transfers to adult court for 15-year-olds and limit the transfer of 16 and 17-year-olds for charges of first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated battery with a firearm.

The legislation, signed Tuesday by Rauner, does not prevent juvenile defendants from being tried as adults. However, it does ensure juveniles have their cases heard first before a juvenile court judge who can consider mitigating factors before deciding whether the case should be transferred to adult court.

Chicago Democrat Sen. Kwame Raoul was a sponsor of the legislation He applauded Rauner’s action, saying there are lower rates of recidivism when juvenile offenders are able to live in the community and attend school, rather than being detained in a state facility.