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Juvenile justice gets a boost in Illinois

When it comes to  issues of juvenile justice in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner is off to a laudable start.

EDITORIAL

The new governor has made a good decision in appointing Candice Jones to another term as Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice. And he’s showing a depth of research — those transition committees didn’t sit on their hands — in appointing John Maki to run the Criminal Justice Information Authority  and Samantha Gaddy to be his policy adviser for public safety.

Jones has deep experience in the field of juvenile justice and at-risk youth and is widely respected. Maki, executive director of the John Howard Association of Illinois, has labored effectively in the trenches of prison reform. Gaddy has been praised for her work as the former senior policy adviser for the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council.

On Monday, George Timberlake, chair of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission and a retired Downstate judge, told us he is “overwhelmingly thrilled” at the news.

Three other key appointments remain to be made that will set the direction for juvenile and adult justice policy in the state — the directors of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and Department of Corrections and the chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

The best way to size up a new administration’s real agenda is to look at who gets tapped for the big jobs. Rauner is revealing an enlightened approach to juvenile and adult justice that goes beyond tough sentencing and prison bars.