* From the Belleville News-Democrat…
An attorney appointed to represent the interests of some residents from the Warren G. Murray Developmental Center says in a sworn statement that the private homes they’re being sent to are unsafe and woefully understaffed.
The attorney, Stewart Freeman, says in his affidavit that he fears someone might even die in one of the privately-run homes.
Freeman says one of his clients who has been moved to a private facility suffered a seizure because the home ran out of medicine, and another was fed a store-bought nutrition drink for days because the home ran out of the doctor-prescribed nutrition that the resident is supposed to receive via feeding tube.
But the head of the state office that is responsible for safeguarding Illinoisans with developmental disabilities says in his own sworn statement that he, too, has visited the privately-run homes, and found former Murray residents who are living happily in well-run facilities.
A year after Illinois was sued and reached a settlement over inadequate conditions in its juvenile detention centers, two separate reports are detailing a number of conditions that the authors say must change.
The first report is by a panel of experts, submitted in U.S. Northern District Court Monday as part of the settlement. It details an eight-month investigation of the state’s six juvenile detention centers in Kewanee, St. Charles, Warrenville, Joliet, Harrisburg and Pere Marquette. The juvenile justice and adolescent psychiatric experts describe incarcerated teens mowing lawns during the school day, being improperly medicated and routinely subjected to more solitary confinement than necessary.
The second report, by watchdog group the John Howard Association, was obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release Thursday morning.
The group examined conditions at Kewanee, a specialized mental health facility that’s seen an influx of maximum security inmates following the closure of another facility by Gov. Pat Quinn. The Joliet Youth Center closed in February as part of Quinn’s decision to shutter several Illinois prisons and other facilities as a way to save money. The report says Kewanee is a facility with “extremely limited resources” to deal with its population of juvenile sex offenders and youths with acute mental illness.
The staff of the agency charged with overseeing land use and transportation planning for northeastern Illinois is recommending against the construction of a new toll road connecting interstates in Illinois and Indiana.
The proposal for the Illiana Corridor is “broadly incompatible with the overall goals and recommendations” of the region’s long-range master plan, the staff at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning said in a report issued this morning.
Building the Illiana would “expose the State of Illinois to extensive financial risk” due to the proposed toll road’s estimated cost and potential financing structure, the report found.
The Illiana, a project strongly pushed by Gov. Pat Quinn, would be a 47-mile toll road cutting across southern Will County and linking Interstates 55, 57 and 65 in Indiana.
The full report is here.
Greg Hinz has more…
CMAP estimates that in addition to the $950 million IDOT estimates the road will need from the state or a private investor, there is an additional “funding gap” of $440 million to $1.1 billion.
The Illiana will be “unable to repay its initial debt, pay for annual operations and maintenance, finance required periodic capital maintenance expenditures and meet private-sector return on investment requirements without a public subsidy,” the report says. […]
Officials in Will County strongly back the roadway. So do proponents of a proposed third metropolitan airport at Peotone, which the Illiana would pass to the south. But foes — including the Metropolitan Planning Council and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle — suggest that CMAP’s integrity and ability to send resources where they’re most needed is on the line if it begins caving in to demands from powerful politicians.
Though Mr. Quinn has argued that the roadway would serve transportation needs, it also would serve political needs as he enters an election year. It could potentially help him attract votes in Will County, campaign contributions from contractors and shore up support for the Peotone airport that he’s also pushing as a way to attract support from African-American voters.