murphy 050224SPRINGFIELD – Young adults in Illinois Department of Corrections custody could soon see new educational opportunities thanks to a measure led by State Senator Laura Murphy.

“As a state, we have a duty to ensure young adults in custody have the tools they need to thrive when they return to their communities,” said Murphy (D-Des Plaines). “Emerging adults deserve a fresh start when they leave custody, and this measure will put them on the path to successful reintegration.”

The measure allows the Department of Juvenile Justice to establish emerging adult programs for individuals ages 18 to 21 who have been committed to the Illinois Department of Corrections. This would allow qualifying 18- to 21 year-olds to transfer to DJJ facilities to participate in developmentally appropriate educational services as well as holistic services. These services include individual or group therapy, case management, vocational training and higher education opportunities.

Program participants would have to qualify based on eligibility criteria set up by the DJJ and IDOC. Transfer policies and procedures would be established by an intergovernmental agreement set by the two agencies.

“We need to ensure that young adults in custody receive the educational services that they are entitled to, and to give them necessary tools so they don’t reoffend,” Murphy said. “They need to be prepared for when they reenter their communities. By providing them with developmentally appropriate services, they will have a greater chance to find their footing, which will also contribute to a lower rate of recidivism.”

Senate Bill 426 passed the Senate Thursday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.