Illinois Youth Center (IYC)-Pere Marquette (Pere Marquette), a minimum-security step-down facility for male youth, is located in southern Illinois about an hour outside of St. Louis.
Vital Statistics: Population: 40 Average Age: 16.5 Average length of stay: 90-120 days Average Annual cost per youth: $164,557 Population by Race: 65% Black, 32.5% White, and 2.5% Hispanic Committing offense: 4 Class 1, 8 Class 2, 8 Class 3, and 3 Class 4 felonies (Source: IDJJ 2016)
Key Observations (from joint report on IYC Pere Marquette and IYC Harrisburg)
- Illinois’ efforts to keep youth with low-level offenses out of secure facilities and the reduction of population in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) have resulted in a purposeful shift of the profile of incarcerated youth to those who have been adjudicated for more serious offenses.
- Staff at both southern facilities expressed that training had not adequately prepared them to successfully rollout new de-escalation techniques to address disruptive behavior, leaving staff with the impression that there were no or few consequences for youth who engage in negative behavior, which at times has led to poor staff morale.
- Pere Marquette has improved its provision of community re-integrative opportunities as well as increased family visitation, and Harrisburg has notably improved the accessibility of information to youth and families in its youth orientation handbook.
- Pere Marquette was a pilot site for implementation of the National School Lunch Program, planned to roll out system-wide.
- Both facilities continue to be leaders in implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS); however, the behavioral program is not standardized among IDJJ facilities, which would ensure the consistency of application and increase buy in for youth and staff.
- Vocational programs were not provided on grounds at Pere Marquette or Harrisburg; however, some Pere Marquette youth are able to participate in the YouthBuild program, which can result in earning a certificate. Additionally, Harrisburg recently entered into a contract that will provide three certified vocational programs on grounds.
- Youth at both facilities exhibited anxiety surrounding Prisoner Review Board (PRB) hearings that determine their release from state custody and reentry into the community.
- Pere Marquette reported that they are able to provide about a quarter of youth released from the facility with a state identification card upon release.