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Panel Votes Against Governor’s Plan To Close 4 State Facilities

Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – It’s only a recommendation, but a legislative panel says four state facilities targeted by the governor for closure should stay open.

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to close the Illinois Youth Center at Murphysboro, the Mabley Developmental Center at Dixon, the Singer Mental Health Center at Rockford, and the Chester Mental Health Center at Chester.

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability recommended Thursday that all four stay open.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl Reports

State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), who co-chairs the panel, says the problem is not necessarily that closing these facilities is right or wrong; it’s that there’s no comprehensive long-term alternative for treating the patients at those facilities.

Bellock says the governor wants the facilities closed in a matter of weeks, while the people in charge of them say it could take up to a year.

The idea of closing one of the facilities was particularly troubling.

“After we all visited Chester, there was no question in any of our minds that those people are severely psychologically, forensically insane,” said Bellock. “The people that run that center … are specifically trained for that type of population.”

Whether the governor follows the recommendations is up to him.