The Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro may get a second shot at life following an announcement Friday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Rauner on Friday morning toured the facility, which closed its doors in 2012, and said he plans to reopen it as a reentry facility. He also announced plans to close Stateville Correctional Center’s F House in Joliet as part of a larger effort to reform the state’s criminal justice system.
“A critical piece to our reform efforts is to help offenders gain valuable skills that will enable them to re-enter society as productive citizens,” Rauner said in a statement first published by the Chicago Sun-Times. “With that goal in mind, the Department of Corrections will reopen Murphysboro as a life skills and reentry facility, which is a minimum security facility with a focus on preparing offenders for a successful transition back into society through educational, vocational and life skills training.”
The facility in Murphysboro was built in 1993 and opened in 1997. It closed in 2012 as part of a plan by then-governor Pat Quinn to save state money.
Rauner stressed that the moves announced Friday, less than a month before the general election, are part of a more comprehensive effort by his administration to rethink criminal justice in Illinois.
“We must reform our broken criminal justice system to balance punishment with rehabilitation to reduce crime overall, safely reduce our prison population, reduce recidivism, and help those who have paid for their crime find a positive path in life after serving their time,” Rauner said.