IYC Harrisburg

IYC-Harrisburg is Southern Illinois’ Medium Security facility for boys. The facility is six hours South of Chicago.

Vital Statistics
Population: 239
Average Age: 17.2
Average annual cost per youth: $69,321
Population by Race: 73 White (30%), 157 Black (66%), 8 Hispanic (3%), 1 Asian (1%)
Source: IDJJ (3/23/2011)


Key Observations

  • While many youth in IDJJ have their GED or high school diploma, Harrisburg is the only facility that offers youth post-secondary educational opportunities.
  • Harrisburg over utilizes solitary confinement. The facility sent youth to confinement more often than any other IDJJ facility, 122 times in January and 103 times in February of 2011. The average time of stay for a youth in confinement was over one and a half days. Facility administration should more critical in its review of confinements.
  • Youth spend up to three and a half hours of idle time a day locked in their cells because there are not enough organized activities. In total youth spend nearly half the day locked in their cells.
  • Technical parole violators make up more than 50 percent of Harrisburg’s population – another sign that the state needs to do more to reintegrate youth back into their home communities and provide more support upon release.
  • There are 25 juveniles eligible to leave IYC-Harrisburg, but must remain incarcerated because the state has not approved a residence for release.
  • Individual mental health counseling is insufficient. Youth needing therapy receive one 45 minute session every two weeks. Administration acknowledged the lack of attention to mental health needs often results in crisis intervention rather than traditional therapy.

Read the latest JHA report here.


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