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Author Topic: Program Aims To Help Troubled Youth  (Read 3057 times)

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Offline TimeStandsStill

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Program Aims To Help Troubled Youth
« on: January 23, 2013, 12:13:32 AM »
Program aims to help troubled youth

22 hours ago  •  By Nick Mariano The Southern

Union County State’s Attorney Tyler Edmonds hopes his and other counties within the First Judicial Circuit Court will join a federal and state initiative to help young people avoid prison.

Last week, the circuit court representing the nine southern most counties in Illinois, received a $15,000 planning grant under Redeploy Illinois, a Department of Human Services initiative started in 2004.

The program is administered by the department’s Bureau of Youth Intervention Services.

The money, Edmonds said, will be used to assess what services the circuit district is lacking that would benefit some young people within the juvenile justice system and help them steer clear of future wrongdoing or criminal acts.

“It is an effort to help kids get back on the right path and stay out of detention,” Edmonds said.

Too often, some juveniles who are sentenced to probation lack the availability of services such as addressing unstable homes, mental illness or substance abuse that could identify underlying problems that can contribute to crime.

The planning stage of the First Circuit grant will survey what services are lacking. Facilitated through Edmonds’ office, the next step will be to develop a plan to establish those services using additional Redeploy grant money, partially funded by the federal government.

The program is not intended for more serious offenders but is designed to reduce the recidivism rate of lesser offenders from returning to the justice system, Edmonds said.

The program has been in effect in the Second Judicial Circuit Court since Redeploy’s beginning. Former Jefferson County State’s Attorney Jeff Bradley, who is a coordinator for the state’s Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, was among authorities to help bring Redeploy to the circuit.

He has found that in addition to keeping kids out of prison, there is an economic benefit to the program, as well. For one, he said, it costs roughly $80,000 to incarcerate a single youth for one year. The cost to provide a service to that same youth: about $4,000.

That’s not to mention the jobs that are created as a result of new services. Some services since introduced in the Second Circuit include individual and family therapy programs as well as a victim-offender mediation program designed to foster greater understanding between the two.

Services developed under the program continue to receive yearly Redeploy grants, ranging statewide from $175,000 to $300,000, but Bradley notes the intent is to reduce the costlier prison population.

Statewide, the program has been effective, Bradley said.

“Those kids that go to prison are 72 percent more likely to commit another crime,” he said, whereas the repeat offender rate among those who go through a Redeploy program is 17 percent.

A 2010 cost benefit analysis indicated that on average the existing eight Redeploy sites in Illinois reduced detention commitments by 53 percent, resulting in a $9 million cost avoidance for incarceration, according to the state’s Department of Human Services’ website.


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