Quinn Tries to Merge Youth Prison System With DCFS

March 10, 2010

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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants the state's youth prisons to be controlled by another department.

Four years ago, the Department of Juvenile Justice was part of the Department of Corrections. It was separated after some lawmakers and advocates argued youth prisons should not be controlled by the same office as the adult prisons.

Now Quinn wants to fold it into another large agency, the Department of Children and Family Services, to save money, the administration says, and get kids more access to a full range of services.

Betsy Clarke is with the Juvenile Justice Initiative.

CLARKE: It's a proposal that certainly acknowledges the very grave problems within the Department of Juvenile Justice.

But Clarke is withholding final judgment on the plan because, she says, there are no details yet.

A spokesman for AFSCME, the union representing prison workers, says whatever office the department reports to in Springfield matters less than the resources and staff the youth prisons end up getting.