Bryant pushes to reopen IYC as adult prison - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Bryant pushes to reopen IYC as adult prison

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JACKSON CO. -- An Illinois state lawmaker says she has a plan to reopen at least one closed detention center in Southern Illinois.     

Republican State Representative Terri Bryant announced two pieces of legislation to reopen the Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro.

Protestors took their fight all the way to Springfield, but they weren't able to save the Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro.

"So we have a state-of-the-art facility sitting empty while we have prison population at 150 percent," said Bryant.

Now Bryant is hoping to pump new life into the facility former governor Pat Quinn shut down nearly three years ago, starting with two important pieces of legislation.

"One, being the repurposing and reopening of the Murphysboro boot camp as an adult facility, and secondly, to announce a task force, and that task force is going to study the effectiveness of work camps," said Bryant.

But Governor Rauner is trying to cut state costs and his office did not have a comment about the legislation.

Bryant has supported cuts in an effort to save the state money. But she says while this would cost upfront, it would save even more money in the long run .

"So we believe that the cost would be minimal, but in addition to the cost to reopen there actually would be a savings in how much it costs to incarcerate an inmate in a low-level facility as opposed to the higher level facilities," Bryant added.

At Thursday's press conference in Murphysboro, Bryant also touched on safety issues for workers and inmates. That's an expensive problem for Illinois, but she says reopening the facility would help by cutting down on overcrowding.

While Bryant is supporting Democrat Brandon Phelps' effort to save the Hardin County workcamp, Phelps is returning the favor by giving her bipartisan support to revive the Illinois Youth Center.

Both hoping to bring much needed opportunities to a deprived area.

"For the amount of jobs that this would create in Murphysboro, in Jackson County, and in the region. You're also employing folks in an area where jobs are very important," Bryant said.

The Illinois Youth Center was closed by former governor Pat Quinn in 2013, even though Bryant says Quinn was advised several times that the Murphysboro facility was not the right one to close.

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