Quinn: Keep Aurora prison transition facility open
SPRINGFIELD -- A month after saying it would proceed with an Aug. 31 closure of the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center in Aurora, Gov. Pat Quinn's office now says it is keeping the facility open.
Lawmakers provided money to keep it open in the budget they sent to Quinn this year, but ultimately, the fate of facilities is in the governor's hands.
The center houses about 130 women who are trying to make the transition between the prison system and life in the community. Quinn wanted to close the center, which costs about $2.6 million a year to operate, and use electronic monitoring to keep track of offenders instead.
Quinn budget spokeswoman Kelly Kraft said the administration took a close look and decided to keep it open.
"The facilities in Peoria and Fox Valley have the highest job placement for individuals per capita, which (allows) the state to receive the best return on its investment at these facilities when it comes to safely transitioning these individuals back into the community," Kraft said.
She also noted that the Aurora facility is the state's only female transition center. Quinn will also keep the center in Peoria open.
Quinn's plan to close the Aurora center and several others in the state was part of a plan to save $18.8 million that dates back to his original budget proposal this spring.
Quinn's facility closure plans have been a fiery controversy as downstate lawmakers fight hard to keep open prisons the governor has targeted. On Saturday, Quinn removed money from the state budget for some of those prisons.
The adult transition center closures have often been less controversial but still important to local officials.
State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat, has been trying all year to persuade the governor to keep the center open.
"I am writing letters," she said. "I am fighting to keep it open."