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Drugs and Disparity: The Racial Impact of Illinois’ Practice of Transferring Young Drug Offenders to Adult Court

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In Category : Racial Equity, Place Based Reform, Youth Justice

In the mid-1980s, Illinois embarked on an experiment in juvenile justice policy that was intended to reduce the sale and consumption of illegal drugs. By 1989, the legislature enacted two bills which provided that 15-or 16-year old youth charged with drug sales within 1,000 feet of a school or a public housing development would be automatically prosecuted as adults. As a result of these laws, 99% percent of the youth in Cook County transferred to adult court for drug crimes are African-American or Latino.


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