Quinn Tells Legislators he Wants to Use Prison Money to Save Children; so Stop Complaining!

Posted: June 30, 2012 by smallmouth63 in IDOC, IL in Fiscal Ruins
Tags: , , , , ,

The IL Senate sent the official budget bills to Governor Pat Quinn yesterday, and Quinn is now announcing that he want to going to go ahead and move money from the IL corrections budget to avoid cuts to DCFS.

Quinn to cut prison funding in hopes of helping DCFS

Quinn has angered a lot of state representatives, particularly downstate reps by what they perceive is a threat to continue to close prison facilities in an attempt to manipulate them into agreeing to pension reform. However, Quinn’s announcement today that he wants to go ahead to close facilities in order to save an already overburdened IL Department of Children and Family Services from additional cuts puts pressure on state legislators to quell their protests due to the dire shape that DCFS is already in:

The $33.7 billion budget landed on the governor’s desk Friday, and he plans to act on it Saturday morning. Quinn told the Tribune he plans to veto spending lawmakers dedicated to several prisons he plans to close.

The administration says it will shut the supermaximum prison near Tamms in far southern Illinois, the Dwight Correctional Center in central Illinois and juvenile justice centers in Joliet and Murphysboro. Two transitional centers for inmates will close, but the administration has reversed course and plans to leave open one on Chicago’s West Side.

“…About half of the lawmakers’ cut would force the agency to reduce its staff of 2,900 by about 12 percent, or 375 workers. The remainder of the cut would eliminate contracts that provide services to children and families, the agency said. The budget trims by lawmakers came on top of a $35.3 million reduction Quinn had proposed.

The Tribune has reported that the caseloads for DCFS investigators are often double what they should be and in violation of critical terms of a 1991 federal consent decree that sets monthly limits on new cases for investigators. The agency also is failing to inspect more than half of the state’s day care facilities on an annual basis as required by law, the Tribune found…”

The pressure will be on legislators during the fall veto session in November to decide which is the greater public area of concern: prisons or children? If they follow Quinn’s direction, legislators will approve Quinn moving the money to DCFS from prison facilities which will already be closed by then:

“…In November, we’re going to have to support our reductions, and the Legislature may try to override it,” the governor said. “But we are going to lay out a stark choice: Is it protecting children or is it maintaining facilities that don’t need to be open?”

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