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Budget Impasse Hurts Programs That Keep Offenders Out Of Prison

Flickr user Tim (Timothy) Pearce / "Prison cell with bed inside Alcatraz main building san francisco california" (CC BY 2.0)
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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to reduce the state's prison population by 25 percent in the next ten years. 

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Credit Flickr user Tim (Timothy) Pearce / "Prison cell with bed inside Alcatraz main building san francisco california" (CC BY 2.0)
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But the state's budget impasse is putting ex-offenders at greater risk of returning to prison.

Adult Redeploy Illinois saves taxpayers money by paying local governments to provide services that keep people out of prison. But one county's program has shut down, and more may follow.

Latanya Hill ran the now-shuttered program in Kane County for defendants with histories of violating their probation.  

The closure means about 50 offenders may lose mental health treatment after the current provider's contract ends in March.  

"We're left to try [to] find providers in the community which are being negatively impacted by the budget impasse," Hill said. "For instance, our mental health provider in Kane County, is pretty much taking no new clients."

An Adult Redeploy Illinois report says that, state-wide, it has helped more than 1,300 offenders avoid prison since last October. 

However, six local programs say they don't have the money to accept new participants.

Copyright 2016 WNIJ Northern Public Radio

Sarah Mueller