JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announces that seven defendants who have committed non-violent crimes over the years will be the first graduates from Will County Adult Redeploy Illinois, an innovative court diversion program that seeks to keep non-violent offenders out of state prisons by providing community-based services.
The graduation is scheduled for 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 22 in the Will County Board Room, 302 N. Chicago Street in Joliet. The event is open to the public.
Defendants from Joliet, Romeoville and Wilmington will graduate from the program. They pleaded guilty upfront to charges that include theft, narcotics possession or burglary in order to participate in the intensive 18-month program that helps them avoid a prison sentence.
Adult Redeploy Illinois strives to change offenders’ criminal behavior through counseling, substance abuse treatment, mental health therapy and job location services. The ultimate goal is to rehabilitate defendants rather than allow them to cycle in and out of the criminal justice system and state prisons at the expense of taxpayers.
Adult Redeploy Illinois (ARI), established by the Crime Reduction Act (Public Act 96-0761), is based on the premise that crime can be reduced and costs of the criminal justice system can be controlled by understanding and addressing the reasons people commit crimes. Another key premise is that local jurisdictions know best what resources are necessary to reduce crime. Currently 39 Illinois counties have functioning ARI programs.
“We are always looking for ways to avoid cycling non-violent defendants through the prison system and billing taxpayers $25,000 annually per inmate,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “It is far more cost-effective to invest a few thousand dollars in services for these defendants upfront to put them on a straight-and-narrow path that returns them to their communities as productive, law-abiding citizens. We don’t just save money with this program; we help people reclaim their lives. That’s why ARI is a no-brainer, regardless of what side of the political aisle you’re standing.”
Will County Adult Redeploy Illinois was established in early 2015. There are currently 36 participants in the program. Circuit Judge Carla Policandriotes presides over the court.
ARI is one of several Specialty Courts supervised by Will County State’s Attorney Glasgow’s office, including Drug Court, Veterans Court and Mental Health Court.