Redeploy Illinois needs support

“Redeploy Illinois needs support,” The Southern Illinoisan

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To the Editor:

My law enforcement colleagues do a good job addressing juvenile crime and making sure offending juveniles are taken off the streets. But we continually arrest and prosecute the same kids and send them off to state lock-up.

After they are released, three out of four of them are arrested again within two years and more than half of the kids we send to state facilities wind up right behind those same bars within three years.

The good news is that there are evidence-based approaches that, if implemented well, will reduce re-arrests of juveniles, increase public safety, and save money. Redeploy Illinois is utilizing these proven approaches and there is a proposal to increase the state budget for Redeploy Illinois to bring it to a number of new counties that have shown interest.

Redeploy Illinois provides resources to encourage counties to reduce the number of youth sent to expensive state facilities and instead keep them accountable at the local level and expand evidence-based approaches that work with the youth and their families.

Counties participating in Redeploy Illinois have reduced the number of youth sent to state facilities by 51 percent. And results from a recently released evaluation of the first four pilot sites point to an impressive 75 percent reduction in the re-incarceration rate for Redeploy Illinois participants.

Union County is part of the First Judicial District here in Southern Illinois. We’re poised to bring Redeploy Illinois to our area but need the General Assembly to adopt the proposed expansion. With the expansion we can move forward with these proven strategies to reduce re-arrests, increase public safety and save taxpayer money.

I urge the General Assembly to give us that opportunity.

Tyler Edmonds

Union County state’s attorney