An Illinois pilot program aimed at keeping youth out of prison saved the state more than $2.3 million and kept 48 young people out of prison from 2005 to 2007 in 12 Southern Illinois counties, reports the Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale. Starting tomorrow, the Redeploy Illinois program will operate in all 102 counties in the state. “There’s concrete evidence that the project has been successful,” said Tom Green a state spokesman. “It has been able to help divert youth from going directly into the criminal justice system.”
Redeploy Illinois aims to keep youth in their home communities where they will receive help, guidance. and probation rather than being sent to one of the state’s youth camp facilities. Mary Reynolds of the Springfield-based Juvenile Justice Institute, said youth often make mistakes and should not have their entire lives tarnished because of it. “You’re trying to change their behavior instead of sending them away and putting them in prison,” she said of the program and the second chances it has offered dozens of youths across the state.