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Invest in Youth - Not Prisons


Our report, Invest in Youth – Not Prisons, provides a fiscal analysis of Illinois’ spending on juvenile justice and outlines recommendations for better supporting youth and keeping communities safe. Currently, Illinois spends 29 times more to incarcerate a youth than to divert a youth through a community-based alternative to incarceration.

Incarcerating youth is the least effective and most expensive response to juvenile delinquency. Illinois can do better.

Community-based alternatives to incarceration have been shown to give youth a better chance to succeed, reducing recidivism and Illinois’ reliance on confinement. Shifting investment from youth prisons to research-backed, community-based alternatives makes sense for youth, communities, and taxpayers.

We are calling on state lawmakers to:

  • Invest in community-based responses to juvenile delinquency.
  • Fully support and expand Redeploy Illinois, a community-based alternative.
  • Create a state youth investment fund so resources gained from reducing the use of incarceration are invested in community-based approaches.
  • Support and improve educational and employment opportunities for youth who are disconnected from both work and school.

Full Report

Fact Sheet

Press Release

Blog Post

Thank you to our partners for their input in helping to put this report together!

Children and Family Justice Center Health and Medicine Policy Research Group Shriver Center for Poverty Law
Coalition to Rehabilitate and Reinvest in Youth Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative VOYCE (Voices of Youth in Chicago Education)
Communities United Juvenile Justice Initiative of Illinois

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