It’s only a recommendation, but a legislative panel says four state facilities should stay open. The governor wants to close the Illinois Youth Center at Murphysboro, the Mabley Developmental Center at Dixon, the Singer Mental Health Center at Rockford, and the Chester Mental Health Center at Chester. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability Thursday morning recommended all four stay open.
COGFA co-chairman State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) says the problem is not necessarily that closing these facilities is right or wrong; it’s that there’s no long-term alternative ready. She says the governor wants the facilities closed in a matter of weeks, while the people in charge of them say it could take up to a year. The idea of closing one of the facilities was particularly troubling: “After we all visited Chester, there was no question in any of our minds that those people are severely psychologically, forensically insane,” said Bellock. “The people that run that center … are specifically trained for that type of population.” Whether the governor follows the recommendations is up to him.