Parts of Chicago and surrounding suburbs are taking steps to reduce the number of youths who cycle through the doors of the state juvenile lockups.
Officials estimate that they see about 50 percent of released youths returning to incarceration at some point following their initial stay. That rate is simply too high, given the societal costs of their continued delinquency as well as the taxpayer costs for repeated bouts of secure confinement. A year in a secure facility in Illinois costs over $80,000 per year.
A non-profit has recently begun a three year program under a grant from the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, which aims to slash recidivism rates by targeting the underlying issues, whether related to substance abuse or family problems.
The program will assign a case manager to each participating youth, who will work to coordinate drug and alcohol treatment, vocational training, education, or family therapy, depending on each juvenile’s needs.