Unfortunately, even good people sometimes get caught up in the criminal justice system. If you have a son or daughter who has been charged with a crime, you may be filled with questions such as “Will my child have to serve time?” and “Are there alternative programs for juvenile offenders?” Fortunately, Illinois lawmakers understand that many individuals convicted of a crime deserve to have a second chance. There are several diversion programs that exist in Illinois which allow young offenders to reduce or avoid jail time.
Examples of Diversion Programs in Illinois
Illinois diversion programs are intended to help offenders avoid strict penalties and/or get the help they need to avoid becoming a repeat offender. These programs include but are not limited to:
- Illinois Second Chance – Illinois Second Chance program is intended for offenders aged 17 1/2 and younger who struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues who are being released from secure correctional facilities to Cook County. Through the program, young offenders are given personalized aftercare planning and help as they transition from incarceration into the community. Illinois Second Chance begins two months prior to the offender’s release and continues for four months after the release. Illinois Second Chance services are currently offered in Cook County, Illinois.
- Will County Drug Court – Avoiding a life of crime can be nearly impossible when drug addiction is present. This is why the Will County Drug Court program allows criminal defendants who struggle with substance abuse or addiction to receive the treatment and counseling needed to overcome their addictions. Offenders must be accused of certain crimes to be eligible for this program.
- Redeploy Illinois – The Adult Redeploy program was established by the Illinois Crime Reduction Act in hopes to reduce the amount of crime occurring in Illinois state. The program offers financial incentives to local jurisdictions with community-based services for non-violent offenders. The program uses counseling, talk therapy, and drug treatment to help Illinois offenders leave their past behind them and avoid becoming repeat offenders.
- Juvenile Justice Diversion Project (JJDP) – JJDP is a diversion program in partnership with the Cook County State’s Attorney Office. This program provides young people an opportunity to participate in activities designed to promote advocacy, education, leadership, and community service.