The Arc of the United States fully supports the closure of the Mabley and Jacksonville Developmental Centers. With 2,027 individuals in institutions, Illinois now institutionalizes more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) than 48 other states. Closing these facilities will start a new chapter in the state – one in which people with IDD can move on to a life that is more inclusive and allows for the opportunity to live in the community, rather than in isolation.
Institutions enforce an unnatural, isolated, and regimented lifestyle that is neither appropriate nor necessary. According to The Arc’s Families and Individuals Needs for Supports survey (FINDS), less than 1 percent of families thought institutions were the right place for their son or daughter with IDD – so more than 99 percent of respondents wanted their loved one to live elsewhere. We should be allocating resources to create new supports and services in our communities so that individuals have a choice in how and where they live, instead of simply placing them in facilities like the Mabley and Jacksonville Developmental Centers. Shifting the use of funds from institutions to individualized supports, including housing, will help make the transition easier for individuals who reside in these facilities and create a more inclusive society – which is win-win for people with disabilities and people without disabilities.