Gov. Quinn Plans to Close Two State Facilities
Governor Pat Quinn announced on Thursday that he plans to close the Jacksonville Developmental Center and Tinley Park Mental Health Center.
Quinn's office is calling the closures a "re-balancing." The Governor plans to move institutionalized patients with developmental disabilities and mental illness to community-based settings.
In a statement, Quinn said it will improve their quality of life, but it also means savings to the state. The administration estimates the closures will save nearly $12 million a year by closing the Jacksonville facility, and another 8 million dollars annually once Tinley Park is shuttered. Much of those savings will come through laying off state employees.
State Rep. Jim Watson (R-Jacksonville) said that will mean turmoil for his community, and for some of the legal guardians who have long entrusted their loved ones to be cared for in Jacksonville.
"If you were the parent, if it was one of your loved ones there, what would you know right now about their future, where they're going?" Watson said. "What if you were a 75 year old sick parent and you know where your child is now. And you hear this, nobody has called you and talked to you about it. I don't think those people feel very secure at all."
Watson said he is hopeful the General Assembly will be able to stop the governor's plan. Quinn had previously moved to close seven state facilities, but lawmakers reached an agreement to prevent it.
Tinley Park is slated to close in July, with Jacksonville to follow in October.
Quinn's said in the next couple years, it plans to close up to three more state institutions for the developmentally disabled.