The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has determined that Redeploy Illinois, a program established in 2005, saved the state $60 million in 2012 incarceration costs and diverted thousands of Illinois youth away from prison and into community based services programs. IDHS found that the program, which operates in 43 state counties out of 12 sites, successfully offers young offenders alternatives to criminal activity through counseling, substance abuse and mental health treatment, life skills education, and parent and family support services. In 2013 the program cost $7,000 per young offender; in contrast to the $111,000 price tag of incarcerating a juvenile through the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. The ACLU advocates that investing in constructive intervention on behalf of juvenile offenders is a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars and that these programs provide better long term public safety protection. In releasing the IDHS data Secretary Michelle Saddler stated:

“Redeploy Illinois’ success is proof that community-based services for juvenile offenders are not only the best tools we have to truly help rehabilitate delinquent youth, but they are also more cost effective,” IDHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler said.  “This program gives youth a second chance at becoming a contributing and law-abiding citizen of their respective communities. Beyond saving dollars, the program mends lives.”

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