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State Commission Say Kewanee Facility Should Remain Open


Members of a bipartisan state commission narrowly recommended Tuesday that Illinois shouldn't  close a juvenile facility in Kewanee .

Advocates of keeping the Illinois Youth Center open say it's the newest and most cost-effective facility in the state.   But director Candice Jones says other sites have better rehabilitation opportunities... and that should be the priority.
"We run a very good facility at Pere Marquette or at Harrisburg. Strong schools, better invention. Those youths should benefit from our strongest programming first," she said.  
The commission's 5 to 6 vote is not binding, so the Department of Juvenile Justice can still go forward with the closure.   That would affect about 200 current employees. 
One lawmaker who voted against closing Kewanee --- Republican Senator Chuck Weaver of  Peoria -- said it's possible to transition site to a geriatric prison for elderly inmates. ?

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