Closure of Jacksonville Developmental Center

The Bullhorn
The Newsletter of Access Living
Volume 74

On Wednesday March 7, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability will hold a hearing on the proposed closure of Jacksonville Developmental Center. Access Living supports the plan to close Jacksonville. The closure of State Operated Developmental Centers will help reverse the trend of institutionalizing people with disabilities and will give hundreds of people with disabilities the opportunity to live independently in smaller community – based settings.

Access Living urges everyone to submit comments to the commission. The commission needs to hear from the community why it is important for Illinois to transition from institutional to community support for people with disabilities. In addition to oral testimony, the commission will accept written testimony as well. Requests to present oral testimony at the hearing or to send in written testimony should be sent to: facilityclosure@ilga.gov. Access Living's Director of Advocacy will attend the hearing in person and will present testimony.

In addition to submitting testimony, community members can directly contact members of the commission.

Here is information for the commission chairs: Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg, Co–Chair, senator@jschoenberg.org, 217–782–2119 or 847–492–1200; Rep. Patricia Bellock, Co–Chair, rep@pbellock.com, 217–782–1448 or 630–852–8633

Please contact the commission and the chairs. Here is a note from Smock stressing the importance of the commission hearing our voice:

The fight to close Jacksonville Developmental Center is such an important struggle to move Illinois into the future of long term care. We have traveled a long, long way from the days of the old Dixon State School and Bobby Kennedy saying that state institutions were not fit for human beings. But we still face the challenges of a system that costs so much that it excludes thousands of people with developmental disabilities from any hope of getting the community supports that they need. In addition to such places being playgrounds for institutional abuse and neglect, we have to ask whether our system is fair for everyone. And, you must also ask yourself, “would I ever live in such a place?” Imagine living in a college dorm for the rest of your life with people telling you everything that you can or cannot do. Is that what you'd want? Help us fight to empower people with developmental disabilities with community choices that matter to them and their families. ––– Amber Smock, Director of Advocacy