- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Latest on the decision by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration to close the youth correctional facility in Kewanee (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

A legislative leader says Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to close the Kewanee youth correctional center is a chance to reduce “warehousing” young people.

Sen. Donne (DAH’-nee) Trotter is co-chairman of the legislative Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. The commission must conduct public hearings on facility closures but its recommendations are non-binding.

The Department of Juvenile Justice says it will close Kewanee July 1 to focus on more community-based treatment for youthful offenders. Trotter says that’s a good idea.

Kewanee is 150 miles southwest of Chicago. Trotter says many offenders are from Chicago and would benefit from being closer to families who can help redirect the wayward young people while they get education or mental health treatment they need.

The union representing youth center workers worries that maximum-security residents at Kewanee won’t be properly housed.

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2:35 p.m.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration says closing the Kewanee youth correctional facility would save up to $14 million next year for improved programming for young offenders.

The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice announced Friday it would close the center 150 miles southwest of Chicago by July 1. Agency spokesman Michael Theodore says the savings would upgrade existing facilities for Kewanee transfers.

The American Civil Liberties Union was pleased. It won a 2012 lawsuit requiring the agency to provide better education, mental health treatment and more.

Anders Lindall is spokesman for the state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He says costly improvements were made to Kewanee for maximum-security offenders when a Joliet center closed in 2013. And Kewanee has a treatment program for sex offenders.

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11:10 a.m.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration says it will close the youth correctional facility in Kewanee.

A statement Friday by Illinois Juvenile Justice Director Candice Jones says closing the facility which opened in 2001 will save money, improve rehabilitation of young offenders and improve community safety.

It did not say how much money shuttering the center would save or how those savings would be used.

Anders Lindall is spokesman for the state council of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He says administrators “blind-sided” Kewanee staff with the announcement Friday morning.

He says costly improvements were made to Kewanee to receive maximum-security offenders when the Joliet Youth Center closed in 2013. And Kewanee has a treatment program for sex offenders.

Kewanee is 150 miles southwest of Chicago.

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