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WJBD - Local News - Federal Judge Refuses Injunction That Would Halt Closure of Murray Developmental Center

Federal Judge Refuses Injunction That Would Halt Closure of Murray Developmental Center

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

A U.S. District Court Judge has denied a preliminary injunction to halt the closure of the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.  The decision was handed down by Judge Marvin Aspen Monday afternoon.  The case had been brought by the Murray Parents Association and other groups interested in protecting the rights of developmentally disabled persons they claim were being violated by the state's closure plan for the facility.   

The President of the Murray Parents Association Rita Winkler and State Representative Charlie Meier say they are very disappointed in the judge's ruling, but indicate they will look at options to continue the fight to keep Murray Center open.  Meier says Quinn who touts job creation in the state has just fired 541 employees who are caring for the state's most fragile citizens.  Meier promises the State Department of Human Services will be watched like a hawk to make sure they are providing the 'choice' parents of developmental disabled residents are promised.  

State Representative John Cavaletto also expressed disappointed with the court's ruling and the eagerness of the administration of Governor Quinn to close Murray Center.  He promises to continue to work with fellow legislators and affected families in the fight to keep Murray Center open.  

The attorney representing the Murray Parents and other litigants, Judith Sherwin, says she is disappointed and surprised with the decision.   She hasn't had a chance to review the decision as closely as she needs to make recommendations to her clients on what their next step should be.  Sherwin notes the court only acted on the injunction and the case itself remains alive.  However, without the injunction the State Department of Human Services can continue to move forward with their plan to move residents out of Murray Center.  

The Department of Human Services issued the following statement about the ruling.  "The Quinn Administration is committed to improving the quality of life for persons with developmental disabilities by reducing the number of out-dated institutions in the state.  Illinois has relied on an outdated system of care for people with developmental disabilities for far too long.   Living and being included in the community offers people with disabilities the oppor­tunity to be more productive and social, live close to family and friends and enjoy an overall improved quality of life.  Over the past several years, we have helped thousands of individuals move out of large institutions and into their very own homes."  

We'll have further reaction to the decision as this story continues to develop.  

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