Economic impact of Kewanee juvenile corrections center closure

The closure of the facility will leave 200 people out of work.

By Sarah Greene |

Published 02/12 2016 10:42PM

Updated 02/12 2016 10:43PM

 Decision to close a juvenile corrections center in Kewanee will put about 200 people out of work. That announcement from from the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.
According to the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, operational costs got too high to keep the facility running.  
Right now there's almost 1,000 beds statewide, but they're only holding 436 juveniles. After the closure the number of beds will be down to about 700.  The facility in Kewanee currently houses 95 juveniles. It takes 200 employees to keep the facility running.
Some staff will be placed where there are job vacancies at five other facilities across the state. Others will  be eligible to work at Department of Corrections facilities. Kewanee city officials say losing those 200 jobs will be a huge economic hit.
Kewanee City Manager, Gary Bradley said,  "You'd have people who didn't have jobs, who in-turn don't shop. You have difficulties with the housing market when people have to move away. With no new jobs here they'd have trouble selling their homes. " 
However there is a chance the facility won't be empty for too long. The Department of Juvenile Justice says the facility may be taken over and used by the Department of Corrections for an adult detention center. But right now no official plans for the space have been made. 
Kewanee Mayor Steve Looney said, "I just don't want to see the building sit empty." 
Right now, the youth center won't accept any new offenders. The rest will be moved to the five other open correctional facilities across the state once Kewanee closes for good on July 1st. 

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