The Department of Juvenile Justice is trimming from its budget, and that has some lawmakers outraged. The department wants to cut $11 million from its budget to meet the governor’s request for cutbacks. That includes facility closures in Joliet and Murphysboro. But that doesn’t sit well with State Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro).
“Alright, I’ll be brief. I don’t like. OK? Real clear. I don’t like it,” Bost says. “That facility was built for a purpose and its purpose was as a boot camp and it was successful until your agency was created. When your agency was created you failed those people who were having a very, very good impact in their lives… for political reasons.”
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Bost says the governor is targeting his hometown for political reasons. The Harrisburg facility is in Democratic legislative territory, represented by State Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) and State Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton).
Director Arthur Bishop says he understood painful cuts had to be made.
“These were hard decisions,” Bishop says. “And what we looked at as we concurrently were challenged to meet the state’s fiscal crisis, we looked at what our long-term vision was.”
The department is at its lowest inmate population since 1985.
The budget proposals must be approved by lawmakers before the closures are final.