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Gov. Quinn OKs $3.2 Million to Renovate Youth Center in St. Charles

The following information comes from a press release from Gov. Pat Quinn. 

Governor Pat Quinn today announced an investment of $3.2 million to completely renovate the Intake Center at the Illinois Youth Center in St. Charles. 

Funded by the Illinois Jobs Now! construction program, the project is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to creating jobs and driving Illinois’ economy forward.

“This project will allow us to get full use out of this vital building and protect the state’s investment in the facility,” Governor Quinn said. “The project will also employ a number of construction workers, which will drive the local economy forward.”

“As our largest youth reception center, the facility at St. Charles is critical to the department’s intake process and we are pleased to complete the renovation,” Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) Candice Jones said. “This project replaces the temporary work stations we provided in the interim, and was essential in helping the Department ensure the health and safety of our youth and staff at St. Charles.”

The $3,292,231 project involves the remodeling of the entire Intake Building, including all general, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection. 

Asbestos abatement is also included. Replacing the temporary structures will save the IDJJ approximately $36,000 annually. The Illinois Capital Development Board will manage the project. The successful bidders include:

  • General construction: Path Construction Company, Inc., of Arlington Heights, $1,856,600.
  • Heating & air conditioning: Premier Mechanical, Inc. of Addison, $576,000.
  • Electrical: Associated Electrical Contractors, Inc. of Woodstock, $469,942.
  • Plumbing: J.B. Contracting Corporation of LaSalle, $128,699.
  • Ventilation: Amber Mechanical Contractors Inc. of Alsip, $107,300.
  • Fire Suppression: Automatic Fire Systems, Inc. of Rockford, $103,800.
  • Asbestos abatement: Colfax Corporation of Chicago, $49,890.

“Updating the infrastructure of this facility will help the Department of Juvenile Justice continue on with its stated mission of providing individualized treatment for young offenders in the hopes of turning their lives around,” State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) said. “Such programs show these young people that there are paths they can take other than one that could land them in prison. The fact that local and regional contractors are doing the work is an added benefit, for them and for the men and women they employ.”

REPORT: Inmate Population Doubles 

The inmate population at the St. Charles Illinois Youth Center has doubled since the Joliet IYC closed last year, leading to potential rights violations, according to a  report released earlier this year by an advocacy group.

The Daily Herald reports that the John Howard Association of Illinois, a non-partisan prison watchdog group, said staffing levels at the St. Charles IYC create a situation that "potentially violates youths' constitutional right to receive an education and adequate mental health treatment." JHA's report was issued Tuesday.

The report cites problems with access to education at St. Charles, stating the facility requires twice as many teachers as it currently has. Staffing levels for counselors and security at the center are also inadequate, according to the findings.

According to the Daily Herald, the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice has issued a written response to the report, saying it is trying to fill staff vacancies "as quickly as possible" and working outside experts to identify areas of improvement at St. Charles.

"The IDJJ is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment to help our youth successfully reintegrate into their communities," the statement reads. "The department's goal is to ensure youth become productive citizens, and we are closely reviewing the issues raised in the report. The department is currently assessing staffing levels and program needs at IYC St. Charles."

The 344-bed Joliet facility closed in February 2013 as a cost-cutting move by Gov. Pat Quinn. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Joliet IYC had one of the highest number of sexual assaults in the country.

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