Every year, hundreds of Illinois teenagers enter the juvenile justice system by engaging in risk-taking 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 community based 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.