IYC-St. Charles

IYC-St. Charles is Northern Illinois’ medium-security facility for boys. St. Charles also serves as the northern Reception and Classification facility for Illinois.

Read JHA's 2015 monitoring report (PDF)

Vital Statistics:
Population: 226
Average Age: 18.5
Average Annual cost per youth: $87,000
Population by Race: White (9%), Black (74%), Hispanic (17%)
Committing offense: Murder 2%, Class X felonies 11%, Class 1 felonies 27%, Class 2 felonies 38%, Class 3 felonies 11%, Class 4 felonies 11%, Misdemeanors 0% Source: IDJJ (4/2015)

Key Observations:

  • St. Charles has made progress in increasing mental health staffing levels. However, serious understaffing in other areas persists. In particular, youth continue to spend large amounts of idle time locked in their cells and they are unable to attend school full-time due to inadequate education and security staffing.
  • Incarcerated youth have a constitutional right to access the courts. This right is not being met at St. Charles. Youth do not have adequate access to law library materials and legal assistance as necessary to allow them to collaterally challenge delinquency judgments or conditions of confinement.
  • Large juvenile facilities like St. Charles face greater challenges than small facilities in replacing traditional punitive disciplinary practices with reward-based behavior management programs. Compared to large state-run facilities, small, community-based treatment settings are also more effective in providing individualized services and rehabilitating youth. St. Charles administration and staff need greater financial resources, staffing, technical support and training to safely and effectively implement new behavioral management programs. Over the long term Illinois should move away from a large state-run juvenile prison model towards a small, community-based treatment model.
  • Litigation is helping to remedy unconstitutional conditions of confinement in IDJJ facilities. Illinois’ lawmakers must support, and not obstruct, court-ordered remedies to prevent further harm to youth. However, lawmakers should also look beyond immediate litigation to create a long term strategic plan that adopts standards of excellence, rather than just minimum constitutional standards, for the care of delinquent youth. As part of this plan, Illinois’ lawmakers should also consider shifting the management of delinquent juveniles from state to community control, and invest in community-based treatment options in place of juvenile prisons. Further, decisions regarding youth parole and release should be decentralized, individualized, and placed in the hands of local providers who are best able to evaluate youths’ individual risks and needs.

JHA's IYC St. Charles reports:

The John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s initiative, Models for Change, has funded the John Howard Association of Illinois (JHA) to monitor IDJJ’s facilities.