Judge Timberlake Receives Champion for Change in State Leadership Award

A resident of Mt. Carmel, Illinois, George W. Timberlake earned a bachelor's degree and MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law.
A resident of Mt. Carmel, Illinois, George W. Timberlake earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law.

Judge George W. Timberlake, chair of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission was named as the 2014 recipient of the Champion for Change in State Leadership award on Monday.

The award was announced at the annual national conference of Models for Change, a juvenile justice reform initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Timberlake, a contributor  of The Youth Project through JJIE.org, was recognized for his work in the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, the federally mandated state advisory group to the governor and the Illinois General Assembly.

During his time as the chair of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, the commission’s grant spending strategy has changed to support  a range of state and local initiatives designed to produce data, foster local collaboration and support statewide system improvement.

In addition, a number of research reports have been issued, such as the:2011 report on juvenile parole, which prompted the executive and legislative branches to support a statewide aftercare program for youth, the 2013 report on raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, which played key role in the enactment of legislation removing 17-year-olds from adult court jurisdiction and the 2014 “Improving Illinois’ Response to Sexual Offenses Committed by Youth”  report, which detailed the state’s draconian and ineffective responses to youth who have committed sex offenses.

“Judge Timberlake’s contributions to the work of Models for Change has been invaluable,” said Diane Geraghty, Director of the Loyola Civitas ChildLaw Center, lead entity for Models for Change in Illinois. “His boundless energy, his credibility based on years of hands-on experience, and his deep commitment to Illinois’s children and families have catapulted him to national prominence as a spokesperson for fair and effective juvenile justice laws, policies and practices.”

Geraghty said Timberlake assisted each of the five demonstration sites through all phases of their work, providing expert technical assistance, encouragement and—when needed—holding local leaders accountable for the progress they had promised. His tireless support of local sites has yielded models of collaboration, diversion, data collection and use, case management and evidence based practice now being replicated in other communities across Illinois.

Timberlake, who also is a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, was a trial court judge for 23 years prior to his 2006 retirement as Chief Judge of Illinois’ Second Circuit, which is comprised of 12 counties in southeastern Illinois. In addition to his volunteer service as a member of the Illinois Models for Change Coordinating Council, he is a member of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Leadership Council, the Redeploy Illinois Oversight Board, and the board of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, a statewide advocacy coalition.

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