IYC Harrisburg

Located more than five hours south of Chicago, and about a 45-minute drive east of Carbondale, Illinois Youth Center-Harrisburg (Harrisburg) serves as the male southern reception and classification center (R&C) for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ).

Read JHA's latest report here.

Vital Statistics
Population: 187
Average Age: 17.1
Average length of stay: 5.5 months
Average Annual cost per youth: $80,126
Population by Race: Black 68%, White 27%, Hispanic 4%
Committing offense: Murder 1%, Class X felonies 9%, Class 1 felonies 35%, Class 2 felonies 29%, Class 3 felonies 16%, Class 4 felonies 7%, Misdemeanors 2%
(Source: IDJJ on 12/3/13)


Key Observations

  • Parole violators composed two-thirds of Harrisburg’s population – about half of the youth at Harrisburg are incarcerated for technical parole violations, with an additional 20% being re-incarcerated for new charges.
  • Lack of approved placements for youth who have been approved for release by the Prisoner Review Board (PRB) is troubling and leads to continued incarceration of youth who should be allowed to leave.
  • Youth and staff relationships at Harrisburg are noticeably tense, with higher levels of distrust reported to JHA by youth in the facility as compared to the five other Illinois youth centers.
  • Harrisburg has begun the use of “time outs” in order to help youth deescalate when they are unable to exercise behavioral control. Use of time outs is part of behavior modification and confinement reduction efforts, and JHA applauds Harrisburg for implementing this approach to youth misbehavior.

Read JHA's latest report here.
Read JHA's 2012 report here.(pdf)


JHA's Juvenile Justice Project is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Illinois Models for Change Initiative.