Decades ago, state lawmakers passed special laws easing penalties on juvenile delinquents. The idea was to give youthful offenders a second chance.
But now the General Assembly is considering an overhaul of the juvenile justice system, this time cracking down on youthful offenders to prevent future crimes.
The proposed reform already has encountered objections, most notably from African-American lawmakers who fear it could cut off youthful offenders from programs designed to help them. But supporters, who include the sponsors and Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine, say they have the votes to pass the measure even without the black caucus.