10/7/2013 1:34:00 PM State eyes Joliet youth center
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — State officials are considering whether to use the now-closed Illinois Youth Center-Joliet as a facility to house mentally ill prisoners.
Using the facility is “definitely under consideration,” Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaersaid. But Shaer said the state is eyeing several sites to potentially house severely mentally ill inmates.
“Given the fiscal issues of the state of Illinois, DOC really needs to meet any challenges in the area of health care,” Shaer said. “We believe that vacant or surplus state property is right for that reason.”
The youth center was one of several state facilities that were shut this year as part of budget cuts.
Joliet state Sen. Pat McGuire said the state is also considering whether to use the facility to house 17-year-olds who are convicted as adults.
“It could be both. It could be one. It could be neither,” he said.
Joliet officials say they’ve been concerned about the future of the facility because of problems with the Joliet Correctional Center. The limestone complex was built in the 1850s, but it closed in 2002 and has been empty ever since. The property is still used by television and film crews, as well as various police departments for training.
Neighbors have complained about that facility falling into disrepair. ——— Information from: The Herald-News, http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews