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Officials: Kane, DuPage Juvenile Jail Merger Could Save $1 Million a Year

Kane and DuPage chairmen tout proposal to close DuPage's juvenile detention facility and send inmates to Kane.

DuPage County could save $1 million per year by closing its juvenile jail and transferring inmates to Kane County’s regional detention center, County Board Chairman Dan Cronin asserted Wednesday.

Cronin and Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay announced a proposal Wednesday that would add DuPage County’s juvenile detention program to Kane’s facility, which already houses juvenile offenders from Kane, DeKalb, Kendall and McHenry counties.

Neither county board expects to vote on the proposal before Dec. 1, Cronin said.

Both detention centers are under-used: DuPage holds an average of 23 inmates in a 60-bed facility, and Kane holds about 48 inmates in an 80-bed facility. Combining the programs would reduce overhead and lower the cost of care per inmate for both counties, said Kane County Circuit Court Judge Keith Brown.

“The idea is economy of scale,” said Brown. “Together we’re able to do things that we couldn’t afford to do separately.”

According to DuPage County Board member Robert Larsen, it would cost an estimated $110 per inmate per day to house DuPage juvenile offenders at the Kane County detention center, as opposed to the $423 average cost at DuPage. While Cronin said the amount per inmate DuPage would pay Kane for the service has not been determined, both he and McConnaughay asserted that Kane County would save money on the transaction.

"As much as we love our friends to the east, Kane County taxpayers can’t be asked to subsidize DuPage County’s juvenile detention program,” McConnaughay said.

DuPage also would not have to make up the $400,000 state funding for its program that the Illinois Legislature cut from its budget, Cronin said, while Kane could use the increased revenues from accepting out-of-county inmates to make up its state-funding cut.

Though DuPage County would have to pay to transport inmates between the Kane detention center and the county court complex in Wheaton, Kane officials have volunteered to set up a videoconference room so that prisoners can talk with their lawyers and even attend court hearings remotely.

Officials agreed that adding DuPage to Kane’s regional detention center would enable both counties to improve prevention and intervention services that they credit for reducing the overall youth prison population. DuPage youth inmates would benefit because Kane’s facility is newer, better designed and offers more access to counseling and medical care than DuPage’s facility, Cronin said.

"I’m firmly convinced that our juvenile offenders will be very well-served by Kane County,” he stated. “They will get the best care in the business.”

Kane County Board member Mark Davoust said the plan simply appeals to common sense.

“It’s nice to talk about governments doing something smart,”  he said.

John Schofield August 04, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Closer to home, how much could be saved by consolidating the multitude of local governmental units right here: Two school boards, the village, the park district, and the sanitary district. How many separate purchasing departments, motor pool, etc. does it take! I lived in New England for while where consolidated governments were the norm. It worked, and you didn't have to go all over town to find the right jurisdiction.
Thomas August 04, 2011 at 02:48 PM
I think a good start would be the libraries. Right now, the Lisle Library Director position is vacant and I just read yesterday, Downers Grove's Director is retiring. I think a good idea would be for both districts to hire just one director to manage both districts and split the cost of the position. It's a small step but I think a good one.
Liz Chaplin August 04, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Not so sure about this. Below are comments about this from the dailyherald: DuPage judge warned board members this week that closing the DuPage youth home would be a mistake. “I'm here to tell you it's better than any other county in the state of Illinois,” said Judge Robert Anderson, the presiding judge of the domestic relations division. “So if we want to send our kids to get lesser care, then close our facility.” Read more: http://dailyherald.com/article/20110625/news/706259906/#ixzz1U4bS8dy5
Melanie C August 04, 2011 at 03:48 PM
I would be interested in knowing what the highest number of detainees has been in the dupage facility. Since this building was erected in the 1990's I am curious if it was really necessary. Could we have housed these inmates in Kane County to start with? Kane was built in 1996 for 11.5 million with bed space for 64. Currently, Dupage is housing 23 inmates. What an incredible waste of taxpayer funds. I understand the premise behind trying to combine the two facilities but why now? Could Dupage have saved their residents from this burden in the first place?
Robert August 08, 2011 at 06:21 PM
THIS is truly a shame. I am fortunate that all three of my children have never been in 'the system'. I can tell you from experience, Kane County has the absolute worst paper work system and their processing, This is a grave mistake. MODIFY the existing DuPage Detention Center for a Youth wing. DONT ship our unfortunate few to another county.. WHERE will that stop?

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