Seek public hearings and solutions regarding issues at Choate
SPRINGFIELD – Downstate Republican Senators are demanding urgent action in light of documented abuses of residents living at the Choate Mental Health Center in Anna, IL. State Senators Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg), Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro), and Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) joined together with House Republican colleagues at the Capitol on Thursday calling for immediate hearings.
“The crisis at Choate has gone on for far too long and it’s time we start getting answers so that we can properly make changes and the necessary fixes,” said Senator Fowler. “We must make Choate a facility family members can trust sending their loved ones to again, which is why I have called for immediate hearings on this matter. Mental health services save lives, while improving the outlook for people who may feel hopeless and lost. This facility is a vital resource and only option for some of our state’s most vulnerable residents. We cannot afford to lose it.”
The Senators also showed support for a solution-based plan, including:
- Implementing ongoing staff training;
- A mass hiring of qualified staff;
- Tracking staff incidents by location and trends;
- Increasing administrative and security inspections;
- Improving overall accountability of staff performance;
- Assigning an interim director or assistant director to Choate Developmental Center.
“No one has said that fixing these problems would be easy, but our state has to bear down, put in the hard work and find solutions,” said Senator Bryant. “Throughout this process, spanning over years and years, there’s been a lot of talk behind closed doors about the problems and finding solutions, but these talks have resulted in little tangible results. It’s time for action. The residents of this vital facility deserve nothing less.”
Senator Tracy, whose brother is a resident at Choate, echoed the calls of her colleagues and called for the maintenance and upkeep of the buildings.
“The facility is home to more than 270 of our state’s most vulnerable residents. What does the condition of the buildings and grounds say about the state’s concern for Choate’s residents? What does the condition say to new staff and visitors?” asked Senator Tracy. “It says to me that these residents are not a priority, and that the state’s lack of concern for them is reflected by the dismal, and arguably abandoned, appearance of the facility.”
The three downstate Senators were joined by all Senate and House Republican Caucus members in signing a letter requesting public hearings on the matters regarding Choate.