Quick Hits – The IYC inmates are still running the show

Quick Hits – The IYC inmates are still running the show

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.

Injured Guard

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.

11 thoughts on “Quick Hits – The IYC inmates are still running the show

  1. Administration has no shame over there. They would rather collect a paycheck than do the right thing.

    The staff that step up and defend themselves gets disciplined for his or her rights to protect one self from harm.

    But administration believes that those rights don’t apply because the inmate is classified as a “youth”. All in all, they are still inmates. The fences at IYC do not repel state statutes and law.

    How do administrators in this state get to pick or choose what the Kane County State’s Attorney gets to see? It is supposed to be reported. It’s not their choice on what gets prosecuted or not.

  2. Keep beating this drum, please. Out of media sight means out of public mind.

    I remember the “good old days,” when surely it was no picnic for a young man to be sent to “the county boys’ home,” as we whisperingly called it, but there was a fair chance he might come out with some realization of time stupidly wasted, shame for whatever harm he caused, and the ultimate self-destructiveness of his behavior; and, often, he came out with new skills and determination to turn his life around.

    What is being learned in today’s IYC atmosphere?! It appears to me we are creating two basic groups — followers, who attach themselves to “leaders” for the sake of survival, and thus will do their dirtiest work for them, including after release; and those thug “leaders,” whose egos have been boosted and empowered by having learned they can beat each other, beat the guards, and beat the system.

    And as you note, they will all eventually be back out in society … with those mindsets.

    1. You hit the nail on the head. Having worked there, it is a survival tactic for most of those kids. They are at risk of being attacked just like the JJSS staff are. It is sad to see that these things continue to happen with no consequences.

  3. Jeff,

    What are your thoughts on the outcome of the four prison guards (2016) that “forced” inmates to fight each other. I see from the KCC records these are still winding through the system. I suppose Kane County wants us all to forget about it.

    1. Sarah,

      There is nothing fast about our justice system, so it isn’t a matter of forgetting. I’m sure the local papers will cover it when that case is finally adjudicated.

      Printing stories about ongoing court status dates isn’t something I’d do either.

      Of course, if that Gang of Four is found guilty or makes a plea deal, I’d have nothing nice to say about them. But that’s the only truly negative story I’ve heard about any of the guards over at the IYC.


  4. Unfortunately no one cares. These are throw away kids and state employees who many believe are over paid under worked and have a fat pension
    However re write this story and change a few things. Call it the Kane County Animal shelter. Say dogs are running loose with no supervision fighting and biting each other. Biting staff and kittens . Say place does not have enough qualified workers to safely take care and watch over everything
    Then you would have protests, Daily Herald Coverage. States attorney filing animal abuse charges. State reps board members s and gubernatorial candidates front and center
    We live in a weird world

  5. Shutting the facility down will not solve the problem that’s the simple solution and do we really want these youth back out on the streets? What needs to happen is accountability from the Gov on down to all who work at IYS St. Charles. Follow through with action. I understand the facility works with youth under 21 and they need to be worked with differently than adults, but that doesn’t mean they are not held accountable. If either of these assaults occurred in a community, the youth would have been arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, same should apply if they commit a similar crime while locked up. Yes these youth have different rights, but so do all the staff that work there and they shouldn’t be stripped of their rights just because they work with incarcerated youth. Too many before current administration allowed such behavior to happen then rewarded the youth, that is what has brought us to where we are now. When I first stared, a youth would not dare call a female staff a bitch, now I hear it so often as if it’s my name. It’s because we’ve allowed it to happen. I should not be the only person correcting a youth for his negative behavior, so should anyone else witnessing the incident. Honestly, I do like my job and I do believe many of us there have made a difference in youth’s lives, shutting it down is not the answer. Accountability, Action, Follow Through, that’s what needs to happen.

  6. I can’t believe how they lost control of that place. I’ll admit that I was locked up there as a teen, back in 1987 to 1991. And I’ll tell you what, there were major consequences for your bad behavior. It was called SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

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