• JDC closure tragedies spur legislation

    by  • February 3, 2013 • News

    According to union spokeswoman Anne Irving, since the closure of Jacksonville, one resident has died in a community placement; four residents have been readmitted to other state operated developmental center (SODC) settings on what is being called a “temporary re-admission;” there have been 11 psychiatric hospitalizations; and 15 incidents of police involvement, both with and without court action.

    Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville

    Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville

    State Representative Charlie Meier, an Okawville Republican, is looking to avoid more incidents such as reported by Irving, and asks for support of his recent legislation.

    Meier reports that, House Bill 97, which is designed analyze how developmental center closures are impacting patients will be called before the Human Services Committee on Wednesday, February 6.

    For residents of Centralia and the 108th District, the bill, if passed, would slow the closure of Murray Center while the study is conducted and the results are analyzed.

    “We want the state to do what’s right and make sure these facility closures aren’t causing the individuals any harm that we haven’t heard about. These are peoples’ lives and we need to make sure we’re taking this process very slowly and carefully,” Rep. Meier said.

    The measure calls for a thorough six-month study of the transition for patients of the Jacksonville Development Center before any other developmental centers in Illinois can be closed.

    The bill is designed to see how well the state handles the transition of the patients at Jacksonville before Murray Center can begin any of its own transitions.

    “At this point, I need help from the residents of Centralia and Southern Illinois that are impacted by Murray Center’s closure. I need them to contact a few of the members of the Human Services Committee and let them know how important Murray Center is to our area. Tell them to support my bill on Wednesday so that we can make sure this isn’t a hurried and potentially dangerous process,” Rep. Meier said.

    Rep. Meier requests people contact the following legislators at their District Offices:

    Rep. Robyn Gabel (847) 424-9898
    Rep. Derrick Smith (312) 243-7129
    Rep. Kelly Cassidy (773) 784-2002
    Rep. Laura Fine (847) 998-1717
    Rep. Mary Flowers (773) 471-5200
    Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (217) 373-5000
    Rep. Deborah Mell (773) 267-2880
    Rep. Michelle Mussman (847) 923-9104
    Rep. Cynthia Soto (773) 252-0402