Conclusions and Recommendations

This report demonstrates that Redeploy Illinois continues to improve the Illinois juvenile justice system and provide a more cost effective option than youth incarceration, while maintaining public safety. The four initial pilot sites - the 2nd Judicial Circuit, Macon County, Peoria County, and St. Clair County - continue to operate effective community-based treatment and intervention programs and maintain reductions in the use of youth incarceration. Program evaluation evidence and statistical evidence supports this conclusion.

The Phase II Redeploy Illinois sites - the 4th Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County, Lee County, McLean County, and Madison County - incorporated the lessons learned from the Redeploy Illinois pilot sites and have successfully implemented new, innovative approaches to the local challenges they face regarding juvenile delinquency. The Phase II sites, according to evidence from the implementation studies, are programmatically sound and operating in accordance with legislative intent and local program goals and objectives. The current economic climates, as well as challenges to local collaboration, are cause for concern, but the Phase II programs are well positioned for success.

Redeploy Illinois has significantly improved the lives of children and families in Illinois since its inception in 2005. It has improved the treatment and rehabilitation of delinquent youth; it has removed the once popular fiscal incentive to send youth to state correctional facilities; it has strengthened local capacities to assess and manage delinquent youth; and it has improved the range of alternatives available for communities to respond to delinquent behavior.

To remain successful, Redeploy Illinois must take several significant steps, and must continually adapt to changes in local- and state-level conditions. The Redeploy Illinois Oversight Board recommends that DHS and Redeploy Illinois take the following steps to expand this successful program, and insure its success in the immediate future as well as in the long term:

Recommendation #1: The Redeploy Illinois budget should be increased to provide for full statewide expansion of the initiative.

Recommendation #2: Redeploy Illinois should conduct a policy analysis that includes three key components: 1) a cost-benefit analysis (comparing the true costs of Redeploy Illinois to the true costs of youth incarceration and local detention); 2) a system-impact study (to determine the justice system impacts of statewide implementation of Redeploy Illinois; and 3) a recidivism study (to determine the extent to which youth participating in Redeploy Illinois improve their competencies and behaviors and cease to be a burden to taxpayers, compared to recidivism in other programs and approaches).9

Recommendation #3: Redeploy Illinois should work with the local sites, IDJJ, and IDOC to improve the collection of data regarding program activities, administration and evaluation. Specifically, Redeploy Illinois should collect more comprehensive data from each local site in order to better assess the program's effectiveness and/or whether the current system is burdensome for the sites. Statistical information regarding IDJJ commitments and releases of various types, and across such categories as gender, race/ethnicity, offense type, admission type, and release type, including former IDJJ or Redeploy Illinois youth committed to IDOC, should be routinely accessible from these agencies.

Recommendation #4: The expansion of Redeploy Illinois should continue to include the practice of awarding planning grants to local sites prior to the development of Redeploy program proposals. This helps to insure program prospects for success, and makes good use of existing program experience among the previously funded sites.