The Department of Juvenile Justice runs Illinois’ six youth prisons. Whoever takes over will be responsible for about 900 incarcerated kids. The new director will also be inheriting some huge projects, and lingering scandals.
The department is still dealing with a federal report last summer that found high levels of sexual abuse inside the youth prisons. And its dealing with a class action lawsuit brought by the ACLU over education and mental health services.
John Maki, with prison watchdog John Howard Association, says the most important thing for the new director will be to turn the last administration’s good ideas into good results.
"Policy is only valuable insofar as it can be implemented and this really requires buy-in from the staff and I think the next director of the Department of Juvenile Justice has to find a way to do that has to find a way to implement policy on the ground."
Former Chief of Staff Era Laudermilk is now the acting director.