Illinois Suburb Residents Protest Inpatient Rehab Center

By McCarton Ackerman 10/29/14

Residents of Englewood are upset about a group of ex-drug offenders moving into their community.

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Residents of an Illinois suburb are outraged that a group of ex-drug offenders are moving into a rehab facility in their community, with some demanding that the entire operation be moved somewhere else.

Angry residents and parents in Englewood claim that Southwood Interventions didn’t notify them that 72 ex-offenders would be staying at the facility, which is located near an elementary school. Turkessa Cleaves, chairman of the school council, said nobody was given information on the nature of the crimes committed by the ex-offenders,

While most in attendance at a recent local school council meeting didn’t object to drug treatment programs themselves, they felt it should be placed in a more remote area and not in a residential neighborhood.

"All of this came to my attention by someone else and not Southwood Interventions and I have a problem with that," said Ald. Toni Foulkes. "There was no community meeting to let residents know anything and that was not right. I am not against drug treatment centers, but what sense does it make to bring people, who are trying to get off drugs, into a community with a drug problem?"

Walter Carlson, executive director of Southwood Interventions, reportedly told Foulkes that all the ex-offenders would be wearing ankle monitors during their stay. That didn’t seem sufficient enough for Foulkes, however, as she argued that "the guy accused of raping a Chicago State University student was wearing an ankle bracelet. That goes to show that a bracelet cannot prevent a person from committing a crime."

Other residents grumbled that they had been sexually propositioned by ex-offenders formerly housed at the facility and that they “suck up all the parking spaces on the block when they come for treatment.” But considering Southwood has been operating in Englewood for over 30 years, this is not a new issue that's being raised.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.