Last inmates moved out of IYC-Joliet; facility to close
By bob okon firstname.lastname@example.org February 12, 2013 4:17PM
Updated: March 14, 2013 6:36AM
The last inmates were moved out of the Illinois Youth Center-Joliet on Tuesday, a union representative said.
The state youth prison on McDonough Street remains in operation but is scheduled to close Feb. 22.
Thirty-eight youths were moved out of the Joliet facility in the morning and taken to Illinois Youth Center-Kewanee, said Sharon Konopka, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1753.
IYC-Joliet employs 220 people, who will be moving to other jobs in the state prison system, Konopka said. In the meantime, she said, they are still in Joliet and will prepare the facility for closure.
“Everybody has a job,” Konopka said. “Everybody took a place. Morale is actually very good. Everyone is ready to start the next chapter.”
AFSCME, which represents 195 employees at IYC-Joliet, was engaged in a year-long fight to keep the facility open after Gov. Pat Quinn announced it would be closed for budget reasons. The union and legislators who tried to keep IYC-Joliet open contended that it had a unique and needed role as the only maximum-security prison in the youth system.
State officials have said that other youth prisons have maximum-security sections that can be used for the youths moved from Joliet.
The union has not been convinced.
“They’re going to have some problems,” Konopka said.