Illinois Program Diverts Thousands of Juveniles from Prison

WREX.com

By Samantha Jeffreys

Recent data from the Illinois Department of Human Services shows the Redeploy Illinois program saved $60 million in incarceration costs and diverted thousands of juveniles from prison with community-based services.

“Redeploy Illinois’ success is proof that community-based services for juvenile offenders are not only the best tools we have to truly help rehabilitate delinquent youth, but they are also more cost effective,” IDHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler said.  “This program gives youth a second chance at becoming a contributing and law-abiding citizen of their respective communities. Beyond saving dollars, the program mends lives.”

In 2013, the average cost per capita to serve a youth in the Redeploy Illinois program was less than $7,000, while the average cost to house a youth at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice was $111,000. In 2012, 238 fewer youth were committed from counties taking part in the program. Last year, the program served 352 juveniles.

The program was launched in 2005 to give financial support to counties in order to provide community services to delinquent juveniles instead of incarcerating them. Services include counseling, substance abuse and mental health treatment, life skills education, and parent and family support services.

In the program’s first eight years, participating counties sent 1,036 juveniles to IDJJ, sharp decline from the projected 2,268 juveniles that were likely to be sent based on the trend of the previous three years. A total of 1,232 youth were diverted with the Redeploy program in 2012, saving the state $60 million in incarceration costs.

The Redeploy Illinois program serves 12 sites and 43 counties, including Winnebago.