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Some Unlikely Allies Push for More Cash for Department of Juvenile Justice

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A group of somewhat unlikely allies is pushing Illinois legislators to put more money into youth prisons.

Watchdogs and department of juvenile justice administrators and union representatives all told legislators at a hearing yesterday that the department has been chronically under funded. Kurt Friedenauer runs DJJ. He told legislators that the buildings where the kids sleep at one prison are falling apart.

FRIEDENAUER: Water can literally get in through the walls and into the rooms. I will not say that it is inherently unsafe. I will say that those facilities do not speak well to us, our state, and our mission to have young people in those facilities that are in that condition.

Friedenauer says some of the buildings at the St. Charles prison west of Chicago are so bad that they’ve been abandoned but they’re still standing because there hasn’t been any money to tear them down.

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