Up to Quinn: State budget funds IYC-Joliet
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org June 1, 2012 5:18PM
The Illinois Youth Center in Joliet, Ill. | File photo
Updated: July 6, 2012 10:56AM
JOLIET — The Illinois Youth Center-Joliet would stay open if the governor signs off on the budget approved Thursday by the state Legislature.
“Our next hurdle is we have to get the governor to sign that budget,” said Sharon Konopka, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1753, which represents workers at the Joliet youth prison.
It’s unclear how big a hurdle that is. The Legislature may have sent Gov. Pat Quinn a budget. But it left a lot unsettled, including the pension reform that Quinn said has to be done now for the sake of the state’s financial future.
Quinn proposed closing IYC-Joliet and other state facilities as budget reductions.
The budget he gets from the Legislature keeps all of those facilities open.
“I think one of the things legislators were telling the governor was, ‘You have to make a compelling case,’ ” said House Republican Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego.
Cross noted, however, the governor has the authority to close IYC-Joliet and other state facilities without the Legislature’s approval.
IYC-Joliet is scheduled to close July 31 unless Quinn decides to keep it open. He also has slated Dwight Correctional Center for closure on Aug. 31.
Advocates for IYC-Joliet contended that the state had no real answers for what was going to be done with the toughest of juvenile offenders, who now go to IYC-Joliet.
The Department of Juvenile Justice said those offenders could go to other IYC facilities, although the department’s own website lists Joliet as the only maximum security facility for juvenile male inmates.