© 2024 WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting
Member-Supported Public Media from Southern Illinois University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

After new reports of abuse and neglect at state run facilities, local lawmakers demand answers from state leaders

Anna, History
Baysinger Architects

Southern Illinois Republicans are calling for public hearings and more

Republican lawmakers from southern Illinois are demanding answers when it comes to another series of reportsdetailing abuse and neglect at state run homes.

State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) says she's still not satisfied with Gov. JB Pritzker's plan to move residents out of the Choate Mental Health and Rehabilitation Center, without addressing issues reported by ProPublica, Capitol News Illinois, and Lee Enterprises.

"It's our state's duty, of course, to ensure that all of the facilities that serve the vulnerable community provide the best possible care, Whether that facility is an IDHS facility, which a state run facility or an approved, privately owned, community based facility."

Bryant says accountability can come from public meetings, where lawmakers can ask questions.

"We have to have legislative hearings to get these answers. We've asked for them in the past. We've even gone so far as demanding them in the past. But it just has not happened. So we need this administration to go on the public record."

Representative Dave Severin agrees - and joined Bryant in calling for hearings to get to the bottom of the problems, and find solutions.

"We're demanding that a joint hearing be convened at the earliest possible time. Earliest possible doesn't mean six months, six weeks, six years. We're talking about ASAP, and in the private sector, ASAP means now."

Severin says the allegations at Choate Mental Health and Rehabilitation Center, along with other facilities, are shocking - but he points to the many employees who work tirelessly to care for the state's vulnerable population.

"They're doing a fantastic job. There are many there that have been working there for several years, some of them decades, that they take their job very seriously. They're doing a great job and they're concerned about what's going on there also."

Plans to move nearly half of Choate's population to other facilities are still in progress, and many residents and their families say they don't want to leave.

Jennifer Fuller joined Capitol News Illinois in July 2023 as the organization’s broadcast director. She will oversee the launch and operations of CNI’s new broadcast division.

Contact Jennifer Fuller at jfuller@capitolnewsillinois.com
As a WSIU donor, you don’t simply watch or listen to public media programs, you are a partner. By making a gift, you help WSIU produce, purchase, and broadcast programs you care about and enjoy – every day of the year.