GRAFTON/SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — Rising flood waters along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in Jersey County is prompting the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) to transfer operations from the Pere Marquette Youth Center near Grafton to the Alton Mental Health Center temporarily.
While there are no issues with the facility itself, road closures as a result of flooding will hinder access to the facility, according to a joint press release from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and IDJJ released Thursday.
This is not the first time IDJJ has relocated operations in 2019. Operations were relocated to Alton for 25 days during the month of March as a result of flood waters restricting travel along Illinois Route 100, which is part of the Great River Road in the region.
“Our top priority is keeping our youth and employees safe,” said Heidi Mueller, director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, citing the previous and current relocations to Alton. “The Department and Pere Marquette [Youth Center] are grateful for the assistance of Alton Mental Health [Center].”
Resources from Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center have assisted with the transition.
“We continue to monitor [the] river levels daily,” Mueller added. “As with previous temporary relocations, we do not anticipate any disruptions in operations or services during this transfer.”
Pere Marquette Youth Center is a minimum security facility currently housing 20 male youth and employs 91 staff members. The facility is dedicated to help youth successfully return to the community through education, treatment-oriented programming and community involvement.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is keeping record of all emergency road closures, including the closure of Illinois Route 100 in District 8. IDOT will update this list as more closures are made public.
Flooding can occur without warning and is incredibly dangerous. Residents are advised to stay alert and be prepared in the moment of a sudden evacuation. Tips for flood preparation are available on the Ready Illinois website.
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