New analysis of prison diversion initiative shows 50 percent reduction in juvenile incarceration rates
The Illinois Department of Human Services' (IDHS) Redeploy Illinois initiative has saved the state $40 million in incarceration costs by helping to steer young people away from the prison system and onto the right path.
"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. "In diverting our young people from the path of imprisonment, we save them - and our state - from the social, emotional and financial costs of incarceration."
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 the Department of Juvenile Justice, according to the program's most recent annual report. At the start of Redeploy Illinois, an average of 356 youth were incarcerated from the participating counties every year. Over the past seven years, that number fell sharply to an average of 178 youth.
A total of 854 juveniles were incarcerated from participating counties since Redeploy Illinois was implemented, which is more than a 50 percent decrease from the estimated 1,713 youth that were previously on track for incarceration. This 50 percent reduction in youth commitment rates resulted in an estimated savings to the state of $40 million in related 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 15 counties and was later expanded to 29 counties, including Macon, Peoria, St. Clair, Lee and McLean counties. The report reflects the results achieved in 28 of the 29 participating counties - the outlying county, LaSalle, recently joined the program and has not yet collected data.