Let’s issue a few caveats before we get into the heart of this piece:
1. I want to apologize to all of the former and current employees who’ve been brave enough to reach out regarding the disaster known as the St. Charles Illinois Youth Center. My plan was to get back to each and every one of you, but the sheer volume of your responses to that original column has made that impossible. Rest assured, I will not let this story go anytime soon.
2. I want to thank Shaw Media for picking up on this one because it clearly requires as many journalistic eyes as possible. I’ve also provided them with the specifics of the incident we’re about to discuss here.
3. Despite submitting dozens of documents, incident reports, and handing over my sources (with their express written consent), I cannot fathom why the Daily Herald refuses to cover the chaos at the IYC. They’ve certainly been more than eager to write about:
- A $149 Kane County Board reimbursement check
- The KC Coroner’s office ad nauseum
- Pointless and unfunny columns on grammar
- And every accident and police report between Antioch and Alsip
But when a story requires a real effort, they run from it faster than Donald Trump from a Helsinki press conference. The problem is, it’s impossible to embarrass a group of people who have absolutely no shame. Why anyone still gets that paper is beyond me.
Maybe they’ll do the right thing and dig into this latest attack on an IYC guard.
A midnight shift guard was recently passing out blankets around 10 p.m. when the “residents” of one of the “cottages” attacked and injured him to the point where he had to spend the night at Delnor Hospital.
Once incapacitated, the inmates stole his keys and freed their compatriots who now had the run of the facility. Apparently, their plan was to kill a rival inmate in a nearby cottage, but the IYC managed to get them under control before they could pull it off.
Trust me! That was sheer luck.
And who was the inmate that orchestrated this attack? That’s right! It was the same thug who attacked a guard with a mop handle during that April riot necessitating 17 cranial staples.
Despite sending two guards to the hospital in less than four months, this inmate has faced no consequences of any kind, and IYC administrators refuse to investigate this newest assault because that would mean broadcasting the kind of bad news that might get the whole shebang shut down.
And the inmates know this.
Meanwhile, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, who assured Chairman Chris Lauzen and Shaw Media that his office prosecutes IYC offenders “all the time,” refuses to lift a finger, virtually guaranteeing another guard’s hospital stay or worse.
McMahon, who can see the Illinois Youth Center from his office, hasn’t prosecuted a soul for the April riot, either. But he will press bogus charges against journalists who uncover a massive sexual harassment scandal in his own office.
The situation is going to get much worse before it gets better, too. As you might imagine, the IYC guard turnover rate is staggering with 30 of them quitting between November and December alone. With word of the violence getting out and Illinois unemployment at a record low, the IYC is having a very difficult time hiring new guards.
When they do manage to find someone willing to work in that morass, they can’t always hire them because so many guards are out on workman’s compensation from injuries, new hires would put them well over budget.
This is your Illinois Juvenile Justice System at work Illinois taxpayers! There’s no justice, there’s no rehabilitation, there’s no accountability, and all we’re doing is creating a culture of hyperviolent children who will eventually be unleashed upon the rest of us.
And speaking of the rest of us, we’re so busy being outraged and offended by inconsequential drivel that we’re ignoring a situation that actually requires our focused anger. Isn’t there a Christian stipulation about the least of our brothers, too?
So, once again! I’m calling on Governor Bruce Rauner to hold those IYC administrators accountable and/or shut the Illinois Youth Center down before someone gets killed.