Redeploy Illinois Saving Millions and Changing Lives
CHICAGO – By helping counties offer comprehensive services to delinquent youth, the state of Illinois was able to save more than $9 million in 2010 by diverting 184 juveniles away from expensive incarceration inside state youth prisons.
Begun in 2005, the Redeploy Illinois initiative provides an incentive of financial assistance to those counties that agree to a 25 percent reduction in the number of juveniles committed to state facilities from those counties. The state grant funds are used locally to provide counseling and other direct services to young offenders.
All eight Redeploy Illinois sites met the goal of a minimum of a 25 percent reduction in commitments, and the eight sites combined were responsible for a 53 percent reduction.
“Redeploy Illinois has clearly shown that community-based services for juvenile offenders are generally less costly and more effective than institutional care in correctional facilities,” said IDHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler. “In the six years of providing services, Redeploy Illinois has successfully diverted almost 800 youth from commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice.”
“The $2.5 million the state devotes annually to Redeploy Illinois will more than pay for itself by more than threefold, and we can’t even measure the positive impact on the lives of these young people and the improved public safety for their communities,” said George W. Timberlake, Chair of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission. Before he retired as chief judge of the 2nd Judicial Circuit, Timberlake was instrumental in making the 12-county circuit one of the pilot sites for Redeploy Illinois.
“This initiative is squarely in line with the principles of Models for Change, and it’s gratifying to have been able to witness the improvements it has made in the lives of many young people,” Timberlake said. “Without Redeploy Illinois, those youth could easily have gone to prison and returned home as nothing more than better criminals. Redeploy Illinois gave them a chance to escape the likelihood of an adult life revolving in and out of the adult prison system.”
The youth diverted from the juvenile prison system remain in their home communities and receive comprehensive services that include counseling, substance abuse and mental health treatment, life skills education, and cognitive therapies. The Redeploy Illinois sites also can use the grant funds to pay for necessary transportation, parent and family support services, victim-related services, electronic monitoring and other expenses.
“Redeploy funding has increased the availability of community services for juveniles and their families; access to intensive treatment, substance abuse treatment, aggression interruption training and electronic monitoring allows me to insure community protection without having to commit juveniles to DJJ,” said Judge Elizabeth A. Robb, chief judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit, where McLean County participates in Redeploy Illinois.
In addition to McLean County, the other Redeploy Illinois county sites are Lee, Macon, Madison, Peoria and St. Clair counties. The two other Redeploy sites are composed of the 12 southeastern Illinois counties in the 2nd Judicial Circuit and the nine counties in the 4th Judicial Circuit, which includes portions of central and southern Illinois.
The Redeploy Illinois 2010 Cost Benefit Analysis Data is available on the Illinois Department of Human Services website. Read it here.