State and Macon County Program Helps Divert Young Offenders from Prison

Thomas Green (217) 558-1538 (Office) (888) 261-3336 (TTY)
Derek Schnapp (IDOC) (217) 558-0518
Januari Smith (IDOC) (217) 558-1544

Redeploy Illinois Annual Report Shows Community-based Services for Juvenile Offenders Are Less Costly and More Effective than Institutional Care in Correctional Facilities

Decatur - The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) today announced two-year results of Redeploy Illinois, a four-city pilot project to reduce recidivism among juvenile offenders. The project provides funding to local agencies to deliver comprehensive, community-based services to youth who might otherwise have been sent to an IDJJ youth center. State and local officials released an annual report on the project during a meeting at Youth Advocate in Decatur.

"Our research suggests that non-violent youth offenders are less likely to be involved in subsequent delinquent behavior if they remain in their home communities and receive appropriate services that address their underlying needs," said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. "Community-based services for juvenile offenders are generally less costly and more effective than institutional care in correctional facilities."

The Redeploy Illinois initiative provides counties the funding to develop comprehensive services that include therapy, GPS monitoring, Teen Court, substance abuse and mental health treatment, life skills education, transportation, home intervention services, parent and family support services and victim-related services.

In Fiscal Year 2005, the average annual cost to the state to incarcerate a juvenile offender in a correctional institution was $70,827. Nearly half of all juveniles discharged from a juvenile prison in 2002 were returned to prison within three years.

In the first two years of implementation, the Redeploy Illinois pilot sites, on average, reduced commitments to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) by 44 percent within the pilot program communities, or 226 fewer youth.

The Macon County project reports a reduction of 60 fewer youth incarcerated during the two-year period resulting in a cost savings of $2.9 million.

For every one million dollars spent by the four Redeploy Illinois Pilot sites, IDJJ has seen a decrease of $3.55 million in costs to incarcerate juveniles. This equates to a potential $11 million dollar two-year cost savings to IDJJ.

Combined 2-Year IDJJ commitment reduction and cost savings estimates:

Pilot Site 2-Year Reduction from Baseline 2-Year Cost Savings to IDJJ from Baseline 2-Year Cost Savings to the State of Illinois (Deducting grant expenditures)

2nd Circuit 28 fewer (33% reduction) $1,375,489 $468,885

Macon County 60 fewer (59% reduction) $2,947,478 $2,350,391

Peoria County* 60 fewer (59% reduction) $2,947,478 $2,182,540

St. Clair County* 78 fewer (46% reduction) $3,831,721 $2,968,927

226 Fewer Youth Incarcerated $11,102,166 Cost Savings to IDJJ $7,970,743 Cost Savings to the State

* Year two figures are estimated based on the first six months of commitment data.

"The reduction of youth and a gross savings of millions of tax payer dollars at four sites represent considerable potential for the Redeploy Illinois program and the State of Illinois if it is expanded to additional counties and circuits in Illinois," said IDJJ Acting Director Kurt Friedenauer. "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."

There are currently four Redeploy Illinois pilot sites: 2nd Judicial Circuit (12 counties), Macon County, Peoria County and St. Clair County.

Redeploy Illinois is funded through a grant from IDHS to Macon County. Macon County then provides funding to local human service organizations that provide the services.

The Macon County Community A.C.C.E.S.S. advisory board oversees the project. Members of the board include the Honorable Judge Lisa Holder White, Associate Circuit Judge, Juvenile Court, Thea Toussaint, Community A.C.C.E.S.S. Project Manager, Don W. Meyer, Macon County Court Administrator, Fred Spannaus, Principal, Spannaus Consulting, Jean Moore, Executive Director, Macon County Child Advocacy Center, Dr. Jeanelle Norman, and Jesse Price, Caterpillar Inc.

The project works with youth age 13 to 17 who have at least one prior delinquent offense and a current offense punishable by IDJJ commitment.