Statement on the Announcement of IYC-Kewanee Closure

The John Howard Association of Illinois (JHA) applauds today’s announcement to close Illinois Youth Center Kewanee (Kewanee), and supports Director Jones’ vision for a more rehabilitative juvenile justice system in Illinois by investing in community based services for youth rather than relying on large custodial institutions for those adjudicated delinquent.

The issues plaguing Kewanee have been ongoing; the facility has persistently struggled to meet the needs of youth and to meet minimum standards of care. Closing Kewanee is the right move for Illinois and for our youth. We are confident that the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice will thoughtfully undertake a plan which will minimize the risk involved in relocating youth leaving Kewanee and the transitions that other facilities may experience in conjunction with Kewanee’s closure.

The dramatic decrease in our juvenile population in state custody, the closure of one of Illinois’ most troubling Youth Centers, and the commitment by Director Jones to move the Department in the direction of a truly therapeutic and rehabilitative system that works to prepare youth for future success rather than merely incapacitate them is good news for the Department, our youth, and the citizens of Illinois.

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Vollen-Katz
Executive Director
John Howard Association of Illinois
(312) 291-9555

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