LOCAL LEGISLATORS AND LEADERS APPLAUD KEWANEE DECISION
KEWANEE, IL - After an "all hands on deck" approach to solving what would have been a potential setback for Henry County, legislators and local leaders applauded a new beginning for the Illinois Youth Center at Kewanee on May 20.
State Rep. Don Moffitt (R-Gilson), State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria), State Sen. Neil Anderson (R-Rock Island), and State Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Port Byron) were joined by employees, county officials, city and economic leaders to show unity for the people of Henry County.
"Senator Weaver and I are pleased to announce we have a letter of commitment from Governor Rauner that IDOC will re-utilize IYC-Kewanee as a correctional facility. This announcement only became a reality with the combined legislative and Kewanee area community effort. This is good for the community, good for jobs, and good for the taxpayers," said Rep. Moffitt. “I want to thank Governor Rauner for making this commitment."
"We look forward to helping ensure the Illinois Department of Corrections realize its goals to help rehabilitate our state's inmate population and provide the justice that our courts seek. I know the addition of the Kewanee Youth Center into IDOC's inventory will be an asset," Weaver said. "I want to thank the Governor's Office and the Department of Corrections for a continuing commitment to Kewanee, Henry County and criminal justice reform."
Senator Anderson added, "I am pleased with the announcement and commitment that the Governor has given. Although Kewanee is not in my district, a large number of the employees reside in the 36th Senate District. The facility will aide the Department's mission serving justice for Illinois' citizens."
Representative Smiddy also added, "This has been a strong bipartisan effort to ensure this facility continued to stay open and offer economic viability to Henry County."
The Illinois Youth Center-Kewanee is the newest facility for Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and will be one of the most modern for IDOC, with it's opening in 2001. It will be a safe addition for both employees and inmates, and an efficient use of taxpayer dollars. The Illinois Department of Corrections currently has more than 45,000 inmates in custody, while only maintaining actual bed space for about 31,000.
Re-purposing the Kewanee IYC facility will help take a small step towards resolving some of the inmate overcrowding issues as the Rauner Administration and Illinois General Assembly work collaboratively to reform the criminal justice system. It is expected that the re-purposing will help relieve some under-staffing and overtimes hours within the Department of Corrections.
The exact mission for the IYC facility has yet to be determined.