The proposed re-purposing of the Illinois Youth Center facility in Murphysboro is taking longer than originally announced.
In October 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner said he wanted to re-open the center as a life skills and a re-entry facility. He expected it to open in about six months. But, 13 months later, the facility remains closed.
Rauner was asked about it during a visit to southern Illinois Wednesday. The governor said he doesn't know when it will re-open, but as far as he's concerned, the sooner the better.
"I don't want to give you an exact date. But, I'm pushing this fast. I want it open yesterday. I'm going to push as much as I can."
He said it'll be an important economic engine for the region and help keep communities safer.
"Because if we can help our offenders get job skills, life skills, training and help with any addiction or mental health issues, they can go out lead productive lives and will reduce the recidivism and the repeat offenders."
The Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro closed in 2013.
The state's only other life skills re-entry center is located in the northern Illinois community of Kewanee.