Sunday, October 28, 2012
Lawsuit Claims State Juvenile Parole Unconstitutional
A civil rights advocacy group filed a class action lawsuit against the state this week claiming that the parole process for juvenile offenders violates their civil rights. According to the suit, juvenile offenders who are accused of parole violations are often tricked into waiving their rights to a preliminary hearing.
“Class members sign the form believing that it will allow them to return home sooner. In reality, the signature allows the (Prisoner Review Board) to avoid conducting a preliminary hearing and ensures that the youth will remain incarcerated until the final revocation hearing, regardless of the validity of the alleged parole violation charge,” said the complaint filed by the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University Law School.
According to a recent report from Juvenile Justice Commission, 85 percent of juveniles who faced losing their parole and returning to a detention center between December 2009 and May 2010 waived their right to a preliminary hearing. The hearings are so infrequent that commission members were unable to attend one when researching their report, they said.
Alexa Van Brunt, clinical assistant professor of law and attorney for the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center,said that the state’s lack of action after the commission’s scathing report is part of the reason her organization proceeding with a lawsuit. “(The suit is) not seeking damage, but it is seeking a change in the way things are done.”
You can read Jamey's full report at: http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/lawsuit-claims-illinois-juvenile-parole.html