As part of its efforts to reduce the Illinois prison population and expand alternatives to incarceration, BPI—in partnership with the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council, Illinois State Bar Association and Adult Redeploy Illinois—jointly sponsored an informational session for Illinois state lawmakers in Springfield on January 30. The focus of our discussion was Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI), an innovative state program that provides funding for counties to offer alternatives to incarceration for individuals who would otherwise be sentenced to state prison for nonviolent offenses.
Murry Williams, an Adult Redeploy graduate who had been to prison several times for drug offenses, had this to say to lawmakers: “In prison, they don’t give you the help that you need. Getting into drug court turned my whole life around. Adult Redploy gave me resources to help me get a job, and a place to stay that helped with my recovery.”
Adult Redeploy provides counties with funding and technical assistance to ease prison overcrowding and offers participants access to services such as addiction treatment, mental health interventions, housing assistance and vocational counseling and training. Today, Adult Redeploy is available at 22 sites in 45 Illinois counties, and has successfully diverted thousands of individuals from prison, saving Illinois taxpayers approximately $120 million to date.
Mary Ann Dyar, Adult Redeploy’s Program Director, credits much of the program’s success to its structure of local control and design. Not all counties have identical needs, and each county is able to identify the best approach based on its individual needs.
As the law is currently written, not all individuals eligible for probation are allowed to be screened for participation in Adult Redeploy. With this in mind, BPI will be focusing its efforts on legislative changes that would open the Adult Redeploy program to all probation-eligible offenders, thus making critical, evidence-based services like mental health treatment and vocational assistance available to many more people in need.
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