Illinois Gov Refuses Media Access To Juvenile Prisons


Youth Today reports on a stand-off between Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago radio station WBEZ. The station wants access to investigate conditions at juvenile facilities around the state. It already has broadcast an interview with a youth who spent time in a solitary unit. State officials won’t allow access until they review the facilities.

Connecticut lost a battle trying to prevent accusee to a youth media organization. Courts forced the state to allow the organization in with cameras to film conditions in the Connecticut Juvenile Training School. A high-profile expose might lead to a lawsuit, maybe a pricy reform settlement, and Illinois is up against it in the budget department. Youth Today warns that keeping a lid on facility conditions could turn into the bigger scandal. “I think the conditions are a long way from the mission of the agency, which is to move towards a Missouri model,” said Betsy Clarke of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Initiative. Considering the level of commitment to reform in the state and the buy-in from a number of foundations, “it's sobering the conditions remain so bad for children” in facilities.

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