Quinn wants to close Aurora facility

Updated 2/21/2012 10:22 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn wants to close the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center in Aurora, a facility where female inmates in Illinois go to prepare to move from prison to daily life.

The center, at 1329 N. Lake St., houses nearly 130 women who are low-level offenders. The center is on a long list of facilities Quinn will target for closure in his annual budget proposal today, including five similar adult transition centers.


Quinn's major attempts to close facilities -- mostly downstate -- have so far largely come up short.

Under his plans, inmates who would typically go to the center would instead be tracked through electronic home monitoring, perhaps via ankle bracelets. Quinn's staff likened the facility to a halfway house, where inmates can get jobs and take part in various treatment programs.

"We will not jeopardize public safety," Quinn Chief of Staff Jack Lavin told reporters at a briefing Tuesday night.

State Sen. Chris Lauzen, an Aurora Republican, said it is "tragic" that Quinn is unable to keep state services going even after last year's income tax hike. "The governor and his predecessor have so badly mismanaged the budget," Lauzen said.

Quinn will target more than a dozen Illinois Department of Corrections and human services facilities for closure, and the plan drew a sharp rebuke from the union that represents the workers.

"Budget cuts have gone too far already, harming priorities like public safety and care for the most vulnerable," said Anders Lindall, a spokesman for the American Federation for State, County and Municipal Employees union.

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After Quinn's speech, work on the budget moves to lawmakers, who are likely to change the governor's proposal drastically.

Despite Quinn targeting the Aurora center, his plans to close many other state buildings largely skipped the suburbs.

A plan to close 24 Department of Human Services offices where people can get help with programs like food stamps includes almost exclusively downstate sites, with the exception of one in Kendall County.

Though Quinn's staff briefed reporters, the full, detailed version of Quinn's plans -- including any plans to close tax "loopholes" -- won't be publicly released until the governor gives his annual budget address at noon today.

So how some specific suburban interests fare -- like the University Center of Lake County in Grayslake -- isn't yet known.

Still, Lavin and budget director David Vaught, of Naperville, gave some details about the budget's potential impact on the suburbs.


Lavin said no major changes are expected for mass transit funding.

And under Quinn's plan, money for schools' busing program doesn't change. Money for buses has been a particularly sticky issue for suburban schools and has been cut in recent years.

Also, Quinn would give the Illinois Gaming Board a little more money in his budget so the regulators can try to finish their work authorizing video gambling machines in any bar and restaurant with a liquor license -- a polarizing plan that comes up often as officials weigh adding slot machines at Arlington Park or additional casinos.

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