IYC Murphysboro to commute until closure situation settled - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

IYC Murphysboro to commute until closure situation settled

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MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) -

Employees of Illinois Youth Center (IYC) Murphysboro are making an unusual commute in light of court action temporarily banning the closure of several state facilities.

Thirty-nine remaining employees report to work in Murphysboro, but their eight-hour workday begins when they get into a van that shuttles them to Harrisburg.

Illinois department of juvenile justice officials say Murphysboro employees spend about five and a half hours a day working at IYC Harrisburg and then they're shuttled back.

"They're sitting in a van, riding from Murphysboro every day, and back everyday rather than bringing in the inmates in a one-time transfer," said Murphysboro republican Rep. Mike Bost.

Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice Spokeswoman Jennifer Florent says the department opted to deal with the present situation in this fashion because it would take a significant cost to re-open the Murphysboro location for youth offenders. Others disagree.

"It's there, they could have that place back up and running in a matter of days," said AFSCME Union Spokesman Eddie Caumiant. "Not only could they be using it, they should be using it. Harrisburg has got too many youth for the number of staff there."

The IDJJ spokeswoman says it's not that easy. Healthcare and substance abuse contracts were canceled and all supplies and equipment removed after the last inmate left Murphysboro in July.

A court injunction issued Wednesday forbids the state from closing facilities until the state and the AFSCME Union have worked out health and safety concerns through arbitration. Until that is finalized, Florent says Murphysboro employees will continue to commute.

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