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WJBD - Local News - Bill That Could Slow Closure Process For Murray Center Goes Before House Committee Wednesday

Bill That Could Slow Closure Process For Murray Center Goes Before House Committee Wednesday

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

State Representative Charlie Meier of Okawville says his bill designed to analyze how developmental center closures are impacting patients will be called before the Human Services Committee on Wednesday.  

Meier says if passed the bill would slow the closure of Murray Developmental Center in Centralia while the study is conducted and the results are analyzed.  "All we want to make sure is the State of Illinois is doing the right thing and the residents are truly better off than they were before. We do not know why we cannot get any information from these agencies.  We've submitted freedom of information acts for it, but it has not been released to us.  If they have nothing to hide, then let us see it.  Prove us wrong," Meier said.  "All we want to do is protect these people.  If we cannot protect them who are we to protect?"

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

The President of the Murray Parents Association Rita Winkeler supports the proposal.  "It is not going to hurt anything, it may just prove that things did go well.  That isn't what we're hearing, but maybe it has.  There are probably still 30 people living in a state facility when they were trying to move all of them into the community. They haven't found places in the community for many of them yet because of the issues they have" Winkeler said.  "As I've said, the community just isn't ready for this type of resident." 

AFSCME union official Anne Irving has told Winkeler that since the Jacksonville closure has occurred one resident death has occurred in a community placement, four residents have had to be temporarily re-admitted to a developmental center, there have been eleven psychiatric hospitalizations, and 15 incidents of police involvement with or without court action.  Winkeler says she has no further details about the reported death.  She has also been unable to confirm any information through the state.  

Meier admits he is a new legislator and in the super minority so he is uncertain how the bill will fair.  He's urging people to contact legislators on the Human Services Committee that will hear the bill.  He's asking those concerned about Murray Center and the residents to contact the members of the committee.  

Their names and office phone numbers are:

  • 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

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