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More completely unacceptable state government behavior

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2016

* Apparently, Illinois government isn’t competent enough to take care of anybody. Severely disabled adults are horrifically mistreated, female prisoners are abused, and kids in the state’s custody are urged by guards to fight each other

The American Civil Liberties Union is applauding indictments announced this week against four guards at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles, where law enforcement officials say detainees were encouraged to attack others as a form of discipline.

The civil rights group also is pointing to the allegations as evidence that an ongoing consent decree involving the two organizations is still necessary.

“We are pleased to see the state is moving forward to investigate these incidents of abuse and to hold the staff accountable,” ACLU spokesman Edwin Yohnka said. “Because nobody in (Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice facilities) should ever be subjected to the kind of horrific mistreatment that is described in these indictments.” […]

Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon alleges the guards, led by Klimek, encouraged juvenile residents to physically attack other residents, according to court records. The four are accused of facilitating attacks and standing by while they happened, he said.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in 2012 challenging conditions and services at six state-run juvenile justice facilities around Illinois. The suit led to a consent decree jointly filed in federal court by the ACLU and the Department of Juvenile Justice in 2014. The pact outlined improvements to schooling, mental health treatment plans, protections for LGBT youths, an end to solitary confinement as a form of discipline and stricter limitations on when and how employees of the department may restrain youths’ freedom of movement, according to the ACLU.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

14 Comments
  1. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:03 am:

    The people of the State of Illinois and their Representatives have repeatedly chosen to cut corners and to not fully fund their government.

    As crass as it sounds, you get what you pay for — a government on the cheap isn’t going to be as high quality as one where a consistent and frequent investment is made in the recruitment, development, and retention of employees and the added safe guards to create systems of accountability.

    Those things aren’t free.

    The number of folks that the state hired before the Rutan decision that wouldn’t be able to qualify for their positions today with the resumes they had when they hired is pretty high — and this wouldn’t be as much of an issue if the state made a concentrated effort at routinely improving it’s workforce through training and education opportunities.

    The number of folks that are in management positions in public institutions with only a high school education is outstanding in Illinois.

    If we want a better product, we’ve got to pay a higher price. Instead, we’ve created victims. So many victims.


  2. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:15 am:

    FYI- Your second and third links are the same.


  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:17 am:

    I have seen job applications for state jobs that require only an EIGHTH grade education….really???


  4. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:38 am:

    The government is made up of people. It is the government’s responsibility to create and environment that fosters appropriate behavior. It is also the government’s responsibility to take reasonable measures to hire decent, competent people.

    It is the responsibility of the people whom the government hires to behave like decent, civilized human beings.

    Failure all around.


  5. - Well then - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:39 am:

    You cannot completely say funding is a problem. There are a pethora of oversight entities. Keeping one’s job takes priority over reporting problems.


  6. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:55 am:

    I do wonder how much time the kids spend under the supervision of guards only as opposed to in school, supervised recreation, supervised homework, therapy, and so on, presumably under the direct care of professionals such as teachers and recreation specialists. Did the professionals on staff simply ignore what was going on. Seems like in a well-run institutiom, with appropriate security cameras, guards would have minimal opportunity to engage in this type of activity. A management problem?


  7. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 10:58 am:

    This hits me like Abu Garaib. As a veteran I was ashamed of what the guards at that prison had done. It also strengthened my resolve to do the right thing and stand up no matter what the consequences. As a state worker and Steward I am horrified. I know two Juvenile Justice folks and they are both amazing upstanding people. I have to believe both would have intervened had they been on duty. I don’t think this was about hiring or funding. This was a failure in vigilance. We cannot excuse this behavior. We the public servants and we as union members failed. Period. I have no authority to do so but I offer our deepest apologies for our failure.


  8. - to the point - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    In this case it’s exactly the opposite. The State and the citizens haven’t got what they have been paying for.

    When the Department of Juvenile Justice was created in 2006 the enabling legislation contained provisions for the creation of a new job class to replace the existing Youth Supervisor position which mirrored the adult corrections correctional office position.

    This job classification, Juvenile Justice Supervisor, requires a minimum of a four year college degree as well as other specific qualifications. Applicants go through a extensive background screening and pre-qualification process just to get on the eligibility list. New hire are required to go through extensive training before they are ever report to the facility they assigned to work.

    New hires serve a one year probationary period. Upon successful completion their salary will be in excess of $50,000.

    So this not about substandard qualifications, training or compensation. It’ about individuals who were rogues and were allowed to carry on these horrendous behaviors because of lax oversight by the facility administration.


  9. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:08 am:

    ===job applications for state jobs that require only an EIGHTH grade education===

    Which title? There’s a couple thousand.


  10. - illinoyed - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:29 am:

    ….or they were “grandfathered in” when the agency was created…?


  11. - to the point - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 11:48 am:

    It’s possible but unlikely that all four were.


  12. - Shanks - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 12:16 pm:

    Lack of supervision, lack of cameras…glad this was put out to light and the proper steps are being taken to fix this problem (hopefully) which shows that it’s not a widespread problem, just a ‘rogue’ group.

    On another note, not to excuse their illegal behavior, when the administration has no control over juvenile offenders, such as no ’solitary confinement’ (segregation) and less control of movement of violent offenders, gives reason for guards to find ‘in house’ discipline.

    When an offender attacks staff/or other offender, they are sent to a ‘time out’ for 2 hours, and put on the same or different unit…what it to be expected with no consequence?


  13. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 2:47 pm:

    “Not to excuse child abuse but guards gonna guard.”

    See you in church.


  14. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 30, 16 @ 5:06 pm:

    ===job applications for state jobs that require only an EIGHTH grade education===

    This is 100% false.


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