Redeploy Illinois Program Helps Juvenile Offenders Become More

Since 2004, the Redeploy Illinois program has successfully kept juvenile offenders out of prison and in an alternative program to help them become better citizens. The program is administered through a variety of county court services and boards – while juvenile judges work with various legal advocates and service providers to decide if a juvenile should be placed in Redeploy Illinois instead of in jail. While this program is one potential option for juveniles charged with offenses, hiring a criminal defense attorney should still be the first step.

Juvenile Program Administration

According to acting administrator for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Melodee Hanes, once children are locked up, their chances of recidivism and being locked up as adults increase, while their likelihood of success in life decreases. The goal of Redeploy Illinois is to keep juvenile offenders in their communities and out of detention facilities. To do this, the program provides support in the form of counseling services, life skills training, drug abuse therapy and career planning.

An annual state appropriation of $2.4 million funds the program, which helps juveniles who have committed minor offenses. Juveniles charged with or convicted of violent crimes or Class X felonies are typically not eligible or selected to participate in the program. There are various county court services and boards that administer Redeploy Illinois – including Children’s Home+Aid in St. Clair County – and work with judges to place juveniles in the program. Since 2004, Redeploy Illinois has served over 1,500 juveniles across the state.

Redeploy Illinois Successes

The Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission reports that 50 percent of juveniles who have already been imprisoned and released will return in the future. The Redeploy Illinois program, however, has a recidivism rate of only 21 percent. While program administrators expected to lower the number of juvenile offenders sent to jail by 25 percent, the program has exceeded this goal and shown a 52 percent reduction in detained juveniles. According to one judge, Redeploy Illinois has been successful in giving kids a second chance.

On average, it costs $85,000 a year to incarcerate a juvenile offender in Illinois. Under Redeploy Illinois, however, the annual cost is about $5,000 per child. More than 880 juvenile offenders have been redirected from prison to the Redeploy Illinois program in the last six years, saving Illinois taxpayers the over $40 million dollars it would have cost to detain these children. While both state and county budgets benefit from Redeploy Illinois, it is the juveniles and the community who are transformed by the program.

The program works to provide one alternative to keep juveniles out of prison, but it does not excuse or condone the behavior of the juvenile offender. Crimes of any sort are serious legal matters and juveniles especially should have the support they need from the start. If your child was recently charged with a crime, contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney with experience handling juvenile cases.

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