Every year, thousands of Illinois teenagers are brought into the juvenile justice system who are struggling with poverty, substance use issues, mental health challenges, trauma, and other factors that contribute to risk-taking behavior and/or illegal activity.
The harm of arrest, detention, and most damagingly, incarceration on the lives of these youth and their families is immeasurable, and the cost to the state is enormous.
Rather than incarcerating youth, the Illinois General Assembly gives the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) funds for the Redeploy Illinois Program to provide a community-based alternative to incarceration.
The goal is to keep youth in their home communities and provide individualized services to youth and families to prevent further justice involvement and increase the opportunity for each youth to reach their full potential. Using a holistic, positive youth development approach that compliments probation’s efforts and addresses overall needs identified by assessment, the Redeploy Illinois program offers culturally and developmentally appropriate services and resources to youth to ensure lasting public safety. The Redeploy Illinois program creates a strong infrastructure of collaboration between local juvenile justice stakeholders and social service providers and reshapes how the juvenile justice system works with and for youth, their families, and the communities they live in.
Redeploy Illinois began as a pilot project in four sites and 15 counties in January of 2005. By the end of 2021, Redeploy Illinois had expanded to 10 active sites covering 45 counties, and three planning grant sites. By the end of FY22, Redeploy Illinois was active in 48 counties.
From its inception 17 years ago, Redeploy Illinois programs have provided individualized, intensive services to 4,842 youth and their families. The successful implementation of this program has resulted in Redeploy Illinois counties reducing commitments to IDJJ by 65%, nearly 4,000 fewer youth being committed to IDJJ over the program’s 17 years and a cost avoidance for Illinois taxpayers of more than $158 million in unnecessary incarceration costs.
Redeploy Illinois has proven to be a state program committed to serving youth and families, enduring the State Budget Impasse of FY2016 and the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020. Redeploy Illinois sites sustained and, in many cases, rebuilt their programs after a time of no funding to serve youth. Additionally, providers immediately adapted to Covid-19 restrictions and increased efforts to ensure families had access to resources and services. This included meeting basic needs for food, clothing, and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as essentials like wi-fi hot spots and Chrome books for remote school and teletherapy.
Evidence increasingly supports the conclusion that the Redeploy Illinois Program provides a significant return on investment in terms of financial and human resources. The Redeploy Illinois Annual Report presents data, analysis, and findings substantiating this claim. Further, it highlights efforts related to expansion in new counties and recent changes in program philosophy and approach. Finally, it presents the program’s activities and highlights from 2015- 2021.
For more information, visit www.redeployillinois.org.