New analysis of prison diversion initiative shows 54 percent reduction in juvenile incarceration
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–April 22, 2014. The state of Illinois has diverted thousands of youth from prison and onto the right path, while saving $60 million in incarceration costs, according to the 2012-2013 Redeploy Illinois annual report recently released by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS).
“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,” said IDHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler. “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 per capita cost to house a youth at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) was $111,000, while the average annual cost to serve a youth in the Redeploy Illinois program was less than $7,000. IDJJ data reflect 238 fewer youth were committed from Redeploy Counties in 2012. Although 2013 IDJJ data are not yet available, this trend is expected to continue as Redeploy Counties served 352 youth in 2013.
Governor Pat Quinn’s FY 15 budget proposal would preserve Redeploy Illinois, allowing the successful program to continue to serve at risk youth in nearly 50 counties across the state. Failure to maintain the current income tax rate would significantly increase the IDJJ population and expenditures.
Redeploy Illinois was established in 2005 to provide financial support to counties in their efforts to provide community services for delinquent youth as an alternative to incarceration. Since that time, the program has cut in half the number of juveniles committed to IDJJ, according to the program’s most recent annual report.
In the first eight years of the program, participating counties sent 1,036 juveniles to IDJJ. This is a steep decline from the projected 2,268 youth that were likely to have been sent based on the previous three-year commitment trend; it represents a 54 percent reduction in IDJJ commitments over the life of the program. Through 2012, the Redeploy program diverted 1,232 youth saving the state a conservative $60 million in unnecessary incarceration costs.
Redeploy Illinois supports a wide array of services to help delinquent youth, including counseling, substance abuse and mental health treatment, life skills education and parent and family support services.
The program began in 2005 in 4 sites serving 15 counties. Today it provides services in 12 sites and 43 counties. The newest Redeploy program sites include LaSalle, Kankakee, Winnebago, and Union County. Other Redeploy sites have also recently been approved to expand throughout their area, including: St Clair – adding Monroe, Randolph, Perry and Washington Counties; LaSalle has added Bureau and Grundy Counties; and Kankakee has added Iroquois County.
The program has been successful in mobilizing communities to direct resources to youth offenders who otherwise would have been incarcerated. Counties receiving Redeploy Illinois funds commit to reducing their number of commitments by 25 percent in exchange for grant funds.
The full 2012-2013 Redeploy Illinois Annual Report can be viewed at the IDHS website www.dhs.state.il.us.