SPRINGFIELD — Despite an Illinois Supreme Court ruling this week favoring Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to close prisons, there’s still no timetable for the closure of the state’s youth center in Joliet and the subsequent possible move of some residents from there to Illinois Youth Center St. Charles, state officials said Wednesday.
First, a lower court has to remove an injunction from earlier this year.
“Unless and until the injunction is dissolved, there will be no transfers of youth and no layoffs, and steps will not be taken to begin either of those processes,” said Jennifer Florent, a spokeswoman for the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Closing the Joliet facility is part of a Quinn plan to save millions of dollars. At St. Charles, workers could by early January be done with new housing that could hold more youth if some are sent from Joliet.
The union representing workers at St. Charles has objected to the plan from the beginning, arguing that Joliet was a maximum-security facility and the youth there wouldn’t mix well with inmates at St. Charles.
Janet Bradley, a supply supervisor at St. Charles, was among a group of corrections workers statewide who traveled to Springfield earlier this year to air their concerns.
“We’re not equipped to deal with that type of youth,” Bradley said then.
The battle in Springfield over facility closures is one of the highest-profile and most emotionally charged fights when it comes to the state budget. But as most of the state’s prisons and similar facilities are downstate, the debate has largely missed the suburbs. How St. Charles youth center will be affected is one effect of the debate.
Earlier this year, Quinn abandoned a play to close Fox Valley Adult Transition Center in Aurora.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.