Funding cuts could force closure of Benton juvenile facility, meth program

BENTON — A proposed cut to the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center’s meth treatment program could force the entire facility to close.

As of now, the program has zero funding in the state’s 2016 budget.

It’s one of the only juvenile detention centers in southern Illinois. However, those who run the center are in for a battle as the state makes extensive cuts to help balance the budget.

In Governor Rauner’s proposed 2016 budget, funding for this program is a grand total of $0. It’s one of many youth programs facing the chopping block.

Those running the Benton facility say the cut could sink the entire ship and force the center to close.

Last month Rauner informed Franklin County that he will cut $1.2 million in funding from next year’s budget for the Center and the Methamphetamine Treatment Program it provides to juveniles from 41 central and southern Illinois counties.

During a news conference Monday regarding the cut in funding to the center in Benton, Republican State Representative Terri Bryant said the program has been a shining star in the state and a shining star in the country for keeping kids from falling through the cracks and continuing on a life path that total destruction.

Last year alone, the Center served over 573 juveniles from over 30 counties. Fifty jobs could also be in jeopardy at the center if
funding is not restored.

State and local leaders hope residents will tell lawmakers in Springfield how important this center and the program are and that funding will be restored.