Implementation and Impact January 2006

Every year, hundreds of Illinois teenagers enter the juvenile justice system by engaging in risktaking and/or illegal behavior. The effect on the lives of these youth is frequently devastating and the cost to the State is enormous. With the passage of Redeploy Illinois in 2004, the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Blagojevich set Illinois on a new course of action in meeting the needs of delinquent youth.

The Redeploy Illinois pilot program gives counties the financial support to provide comprehensive services to delinquent youth in their home communities who might otherwise be sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). Prior research has found that communitybased services for delinquent youth can be more effective and less expensive than a sentence to prison. Unfortunately, many counties in Illinois lack the programming to effectively serve delinquent youth locally. A lack of local programs and services plays a significant role in the Court's decision to commit a youth to IDOC. The funds provided to the Redeploy Illinois pilot sites fills in the gaps in their continuum of programs and services for delinquent youth, allowing them to cost-effectively serve youth locally and reduce their reliance on IDOC.

This progressive effort to build on the work done in other states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania that successfully reduced juvenile incarceration rates through similarly structured efforts is paying off. Youth are being successfully treated in their own communities and kept from expensive IDOC incarceration, saving the state money. The State appropriations to date: $2 million in FY05 and $1.5 million in FY06.

Background

From 2000 to 2004 there was an average of 1,765 new court admissions of juveniles per year to IDOC, with approximately 45 percent of those admissions for a property offense and 30 percent for a court evaluation (i.e., a 30-90 day commitment during which time the youth's needs are evaluated). During calendar year 2004 alone, there were 1,729 new court admissions to IDOC, with just under one-half (792) admitted for a property offense and approximately one-third (610) for a court evaluation. Forty-six percent of juveniles who were discharged from IDOC in 2001 returned to a juvenile prison within three years. The number of youth discharged from a juvenile prison in Illinois who later became involved with the adult criminal justice system is unknown.

Figure 1: IDOC Juevenile Commitments 2000 - 2004 (described above)

Although research suggests that community-based assessment and treatment services are more cost-effective than incarceration, the sentencing county must cover the cost of those services. On the other hand, if a county sends a delinquent youth to IDOC, the financial burden for the services is passed on to the State. This creates a fiscal incentive for counties to commit youth to IDOC for assessment, treatment and supervision.

The Redeploy Illinois pilot program was established as a mechanism to change the fiscal incentive to send juveniles to IDOC. Research demonstrates that non-violent youth are less likely to become further involved in delinquent or criminal behavior if they remain in their home communities and appropriate services are available that address underlying needs such as mental illness, substance abuse, learning disabilities, unstable living arrangements, dysfunctional parenting, etc. Additionally, research on balanced and restorative justice (BARJ) has shown that offenders who participate in BARJ programming have a greater appreciation of the harm their actions caused their victims and communities and that working to repair the harm is therapeutic.

The target population for services provided by the Redeploy Illinois pilot program is youth who are at high risk of being committed to the Illinois Department of Corrections. Through this pilot program, counties are given the resources to provide the needed services and supports to identified youth in their home communities in an effort to prevent further involvement in delinquent and criminal behavior. It is also expected that providing counties with the resources to support these services will reduce the counties reliance on committing youth to IDOC. Local jurisdictions that participate as a Redeploy Illinois pilot site are required to develop plans for community-based treatment for juvenile offenders that protect their communities, promote accountability for the harm caused their victims and communities, and equip youth with the necessary competencies to live responsibly and productively. There are currently four Redeploy Illinois pilot sites:

  • 2nd Judicial Circuit
  • Macon County
  • Peoria County
  • St. Clair County

Description of the Pilot Sites

The 2nd Judicial Circuit

The Second Judicial Circuit is comprised of 12 rural counties in southeastern Illinois: Crawford, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne and White. The goal of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Redeploy Illinois program is to utilize individualized and evidence-based practices to address the needs of medium- and high-risk juvenile offenders.

The five major service options supported by the 2nd Judicial Circuit's Redeploy Illinois program are:

  • Aggression Replacement Training
  • Functional Family Therapy
  • Multi-Systemic Therapy
  • Global Positioning System Monitoring
  • Psychological and Psychiatric Evaluation

The expected outcome of these services, which are provided by probation department staff and community-based service providers, are an increase in public safety and the provision of pathways to positive change for youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system.

Macon County

Macon County's Redeploy Illinois program is locally referred to as "Community ACCESS" (Alternative Collaborative Change Education Support Success). The goal of this program is to create a collaborative and community-based approach to increasing access to community-based services for juveniles, their families, victims and the community. In addition, juveniles served by the Redeploy Illinois program receive a continuum of services based upon their specific needs and risk levels. Services are dually aimed at individual offenders and their families.

The continuum of services provided by the Macon County Redeploy Illinois program consists of strategies and sanctions ranging from least restrictive to most restrictive including:

  • Quality assessment process (initial and ongoing)
  • Cognitive education and treatment
  • Teen court
  • Violence reduction treatment
  • Victim-related services
  • Life skills
  • Community restorative boards
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Gender-specific services
  • Mental health treatment
  • Parent/family support services
  • Home detention

Peoria County

The Peoria County Redeploy Illinois program is a collaborative partnership between Peoria County Court Services and Children's Home Association of Illinois. The program serves youth on probation who are at greatest risk of being sent to IDOC for a court evaluation as well as youth who are at risk of being sent to IDOC for a full commitment.

A staff member from the Children's Home Association conducts a thorough assessment on each youth participating in the Redeploy Illinois program to obtain the information that will assist in developing an individualized service plan for the youth and his/her family. The staff member then collaborates with Peoria County probation staff that work directly with delinquent youth and their families to provide the identified services or link them to resources within the community.

Once the referral to the program has been made and the assessment completed, program staff provide the following services:

  • A minimum of three contacts per week with the youth. These three contacts will consist of counseling, skill building, collateral contact, curfew checks, and/or staffings with the Probation Officer.
  • Transportation for the youth to and from court hearings, meetings with Probation Officers, treatment sessions/meetings, or other related appointments/meetings.
  • Linkage to community resources.
  • Aggression Replacement Training group counseling sessions.

Services are provided on an annual basis to approximately 80 youth. The youth receive needed services for a period of time ranging from six months to the time when the youth is no longer on probation, depending on need or as specified by Probation. Additionally, if the youth is in need of a psychological evaluation, there are program funds set aside to pay for this service through the Antioch Group or John R. Day & Associates. Both of these organizations also provide therapy for youth who need more intense mental health treatment. When it is determined that a youth could benefit from a residential program, as opposed to being sent to IDOC for an evaluation, males are referred to the Youth Farm and females to the Children's Home Residential Services. Youth receive evaluation and assessment during this 21-day stabilization period and then transition into the program group.

St. Clair County

St. Clair's Redeploy Illinois program aims to positively impact the lives of St. Clair County youth and their families through local comprehensive evaluations and the provision of evidencebased treatment alternatives in the least restrictive setting.

The Prevention Policy Board of the St. Clair County Youth Coalition serves as the oversight board and lead agency. The target population is youth between 13 and 17 years of age with at least one prior delinquent offense who are currently adjudicated for an offense that is punishable by an IDOC commitment and who are at medium or high risk for re-offending. Youth who are involved in both the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system are given priority.

The St. Clair Redeploy Illinois program supports the following services:

  • Functional Family Therapy
  • Multi-systemic Therapy
  • Aggression Replacement Training
  • Family group conferencing

Evaluation Findings

In March 2005, an independent evaluator was hired to conduct a process and preliminary impact evaluation. The evaluation approach employed was systematic and comprehensive using a variety of both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. The evaluation was designed to address the unique characteristics of the pilot sites through establishing key performance indicators and research questions for assessing the impact and implementation of the Redeploy Illinois program. At the heart of the evaluation design was eleven key performance indicators for assessing the impact and implementation of the programs.

The 2nd Judicial Circuit and Macon County were the first two Redeploy Illinois pilot sites to begin implementation. In December 2005, draft final reports on the evaluations of these two Redeploy pilots sites were submitted to the Redeploy Illinois Oversight Board. The information below on these two sites is taken from the draft final reports.

Fiscal Impact

The 2nd Judicial Circuit Redeploy Illinois program has an annual grant allocation of $312,254. As of October 31, 2005 the program had served 54 level one juveniles, which projects to 65 youth served in the first full year. At this rate, the 2nd Judicial Circuit program is serving youth in the community at an average cost per youth of $5,782.

The Macon County Redeploy Illinois program has an annual grant allocation of $368,746. As of October 31, 2005 the program had served 22 juveniles, which projects to 26 youth served in the first full year. At this rate, the Macon County Redeploy program is serving youth in the community at an average cost per youth of $14,183. It is important to note that the average cost per youth projection assumes that 100% of the funds were expended. Slow start-up and some organizational issues resulted in 38% unspent funds in the first six months. This suggests that the actual average cost per youth is closer to the level of the other sites.

Although evaluations of the two newer Redeploy Illinois pilot sites, Peoria and St. Clair County, are not scheduled to begin until March 2006, data on the program cost and projected number of youth served are available.

The Peoria County Redeploy Illinois program has an annual grant allocation of $360,000. During the first year of the program, Peoria County expects to serve 100 juveniles. At this rate, the Peoria County program is serving youth in the community at an average per youth cost of $3,600.

The St. Clair County Redeploy Illinois program has an annual grant allocation of $370,000. During the first year of their program, St. Clair County is projected to serve 60 youth. At this rate, the St. Clair program is serving youth in the community at an average per youth cost of $6,167.

Impact on Commitments to IDOC

In exchange for the resources to support a local continuum of service for delinquent youth, Redeploy Illinois pilot sites agreed to reduce their commitments to IDOC by at least 25 percent from the average number of juvenile IDOC commitments during the previous three years (2001 - 2003). The evaluations of the 2nd Judicial Circuit and Macon County programs include documentation of the number of youth committed to IDOC in these jurisdictions during the first year of the Redeploy program.

Together, the 12 counties in the 2nd Judicial Circuit averaged 41 juvenile commitments to IDOC in the three years prior to participation in Redeploy Illinois. The projected number of 2nd Circuit commitments to IDOC during the first year of the program based on the number committed during the first 10 months is 18. This represents a 56 percent reduction in the number of youth from the 2nd Judicial Circuit committed to IDOC.

Macon County averaged 53 juvenile commitments to IDOC in the three years prior to participation in Redeploy Illinois. The projected number of commitments to IDOC during the first year of the program based on the number committed during the first 10 months is 34. This represents a 36 percent reduction in the number of Macon County youth committed to IDOC.

According to IDOC, Peoria County averaged 71 juvenile commitments in the three years prior to participation in Redeploy Illinois. The projected number of commitments to IDOC during the first year of the program is 52. This represents a 27 percent reduction in the number of Peoria County youth committed to IDOC.

St. Clair County averaged 50 juvenile commitments to IDOC in the three years prior to participation in Redeploy Illinois. It is anticipated that this three-year average will not be reduced by 25 percent. It is, however, anticipated that St Clair County will reverse the trend of sending significantly more youth to IDOC each year. St. Clair County's commitments to IDOC increased from 39 in 2001, to 60 in 2003, and to 90 in 2004. Through implementation of Redeploy Illinois, St. Clair County program staff projects that they will have reduced the number of commitments to IDOC in the first year of their program to 68, or a 24 percent reduction to the previous year's number of commitments. Table 1 summarizes the projected reductions in IDOC commitments for all the pilot sites.

Table 1: Summary of Projected Impact of Redeploy on Commitments to IDOC

Previous 3-Year Average IDOC Commitments Projected Year One IDOC Commitments Projected Year One Number of Reduced IDOC Commitments Projected Year One Reduction in IDOC Commitments
Macon County 53 34 19 36%
2nd Judicial Circuit 41 18 23 56%
Peoria County 71 52 19 27%
St. Clair County 90* 68 22 24%
Total 255 172 83 33%

* 2004 IDOC Commitment data.

Given that non-violent youth sentenced to IDOC have an average length of stay of 9.6 months, the average cost of incarcerating a non-violent offender is $51,525. Youth sent to IDOC for a court evaluation serve an average of 2.6 months, resulting in an average State cost of $13,955.

Tables 2 and 3 demonstrate the potential short and long term cost effectiveness of the Redeploy Illinois program. Both tables are based on the assumption that the pilot sites would have continued to commit the same number of youth to IDOC as their three-year averages (2001 - 2003) without their Redeploy Illinois programs and uses the pilot sites historical use of IDOC for youth sentenced for non-violent offenses and court evaluations to provide an estimate of the potential financial impact of Redeploy Illinois.

Table 2: Year One Projected Cost Effectiveness of Redeploy Illinois Pilot Sites

Projected Year One
Program Costs
Previous 3-Year
Average IDOC
Commitments
Projected Year One
Number of Reduced
IDOC Commitments
Projected Year One
Cost Savings to IDOC
Macon County $368,746 53 19 $486,432
2nd Judicial Circuit $312,254 41 23 $657,968
Peoria County $360,000 71 19 $622,061
St. Clair County $370,000 90* 22 $356,602
Total $1,411,000 255 83 $2,123,063

* 2004 IDOC Commitments data.

Even though the pilot sites have already reduced their reliance on IDOC, it is the Oversight Boards expectation that the sites performance will improve as they move past start-up and initial implementation and become more integrated within the community and justice system as a whole. However, to provide an initial long-term estimate of the cost effectiveness of Redeploy Illinois, Table 3 describes the three-year cost savings in each of the Redeploy Illinois pilot sites if they maintain their reduced level of IDOC commitments projected during their first year.

Table 3: Three-Year Projected Cost Effectiveness of Current Redeploy Illinois Pilot Sites

Projected 3-Year Redeploy Program Costs Projected 3-Year Number of Youth Served Previous 3-Year Total IDOC Commitments (2001-2003) Projected 3-Year Total Number of Reduced Commitments Projected Savings Based on Jurisdictions Historical use of IDOC
Macon County $1,287,000 78 159 57 $1,471,245
2nd Judicial Circuit $915,000 195 123 69 $1,973,904
Peoria County $1,080,000 300 213 57 $1,866,181
St. Clair County $1,110,000 180 270* 66 $1,069,807
Total $3,477,915 753 765 249 $6,381,137

* 3-year total is based on the 2004 IDOC Commitment rate.

Importantly, the estimates of cost effectiveness in Tables 2 and 3 do not take into account the long-term savings expected from lower recidivism rates associated with community-based treatment. Cost savings associated with lower recidivism rates, although difficult to quantify in dollars in cents, include fewer crime victims, safer communities, and young people who mature into law-abiding and productive citizens. Continued support of the evaluation component of this effort will be able to document the expected reductions in recidivism rates of youth served by Redeploy Illinois and provide additional research-based support for the success of this program.

Conclusion

For Redeploy Illinois to achieve long term and sustainable success it is critical that the pilot programs are continued and that the lessons learned and documented in the evaluations of the current programs are used to inform an expansion of the program. The preliminary successes of these pilot sites are very encouraging and bring to light the need for the Governor and General Assembly to consider appropriating additional funds to increase the number of pilot sites throughout Illinois.

Much has been learned from the first 18 months of the Redeploy Illinois pilot program. It is clear that this program has the potential to save the State of Illinois significant dollars that would otherwise be spent on incarcerating non-violent juvenile offenders. If the lower recidivism rates typically associated with community-based treatment are realized, the Redeploy Illinois program will have saved the State money, reduced the number of crime victims, and created safer communities. Additionally, the Redeploy Illinois program will have played a significant role in turning around the lives of a considerable number of young people, many of whom would otherwise be doomed to a cycle of arrest, incarceration, re-arrest and re-incarceration. The results of the next several years can document these outcomes.