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State Week: Abuse inside a state-run mental health center

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A new investigative collaboration between Capitol News Illinois, Lee Enterprises Midwest and ProPublica has found hundreds of reports of abuse inside the Choate Mental Health and Development Center in Anna, Illinois.

For years, this abuse has gone unreported — and Choate employees have rarely been held responsible for the harm they’ve caused to residents with developmental disabilities. Choate stands out from the other state-run mental health facilities for the sheer number of incidents that have occurred there within the past couple of decades, and the abuses represent yet another massive, years-long failure in state government when it comes to taking care of the most vulnerable populations in Illinois.

The failures span back multiple administrations, but will these stick to Gov. JB Pritzker as election season ramps up? Our panel includes host Hannah Meisel filling in for Sean Crawford, Professor Emeritus Charlie Wheeler, Molly Parker of Lee Enterprises Midwest and Beth Hundsdorfer of Capitol News Illinois.

Hannah covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio. She's been dedicated to the statehouse beat since interning at NPR Illinois in 2014, with subsequent stops at outlets including WILL-AM/FM, Law360, The Daily Line and a temporary stint at political blog Capitol Fax before returning to the station in 2020.
The former director of the Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) graduate program is Professor Charles N. Wheeler III, a veteran newsman who came to the University of Illinois at Springfield following a 24-year career at the Chicago Sun-Times.