Kendall County State’s Attorney Eric Weis recently was a panel speaker for the Illinois Juvenile Justice Leadership Council quarterly meeting in Springfield. Weis was selected to attend as a State’s Attorney representative. The Illinois Juvenile Justice Leadership Council meeting was held to “understand and discuss the opportunities and challengers prosecutors and defenders encounter working together to create better outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system.”
The meeting was co-chaired by Illinois Supreme Court Justices Anne Burke and Rita Garman, and Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice Director Heidi Mueller. The meeting had three panels, two of the panels involved prosecutors and defenders and one panel with community partners who, with the support of defenders and prosecutors, work within the system to assist youth in the juvenile justice system to achieve better outcomes.
Weis, who also is an Executive Board Member of “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids,” discussed the need for early intervention to prevent at-risk youth from entering into the criminal justice system. Weis also noted some of the efforts in Kendall County, such as the Juvenile Justice Council, as ways communities can assist with providing resources to youth without additional burdens on taxpayers.
Finally, Weis noted that crime prevention and punishment must be balanced with rehabilitation, especially when it comes to youth. Keeping our youth out of or preventing them from coming back into the criminal justice system, should be our main priority when it comes to youthful offenders.