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McGuire questions DOC about mental health treatment, opening Joliet Treatment Center

mcguire 050317SPRINGFIELD — Following testimony from the director of the state’s prison system, State Sen. Pat McGuire asked how the Illinois Department of Corrections is fulfilling a court order mandating it provide greater mental health treatment to inmates.

“Illinois already has spent $17 million on construction work to transform Illinois Youth Center-Joliet from a prison for teens into a mental health facility to provide treatment to 460 adult offenders with serious mental illnesses,” said McGuire, D-Joliet, following the hearing. “But the new Joliet Treatment Center hasn’t opened yet because of the governor’s refusal to compromise on a budget.”

A federal court ruled last year in Rasho v. Walker that the Illinois prison system must improve services to the roughly 11,000 inmates with serious mental illnesses. As part of the department’s efforts to fulfill that mandate, IDOC has committed to opening up five new treatment centers, including the former IYC-Joliet. While IDOC’s legal counsel testified that fulfilling the mandate is dependent on when the state passes a budget, McGuire said leaving inmates untreated creates a dangerous situation.

“IDOC Director John Baldwin is sincere about treating offenders with serious mental illness, and I support him. My fear is that no budget means no treatment. That would mean these offenders grow sicker, leading to more incidents involving other offenders and prison personnel, and more risks to our communities when those offenders have served their time. I urge the governor to govern and settle on a budget,” McGuire said. “Our duty is clear. Every day we delay opening these treatment facilities puts inmates and officers at risk.”

Sen. Pat McGuire

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43rd District

Years served:
2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Environment and Conservation; Higher Education (Chairperson); Revenue; State Government (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Former teacher, school board member, Will County treasurer and Braidwood City Clerk; attended Joliet Catholic schools from first grade through college; married (Lora) with one daughter (Molly).

Associated Representatives:
John Connor
Lawrence Walsh, Jr.