ENGLEWOOD — Plans to move a group of ex-offenders into a drug rehab facility near Henderson Elementary School next month have been halted.
Walter Carlson, director of Southwood Interventions, said he came to the decision after meeting with community members Saturday at the school.
"It would be fair to say that the community feedback I heard at the meeting played a part in our decision not to move new ex-offenders into our treatment center," said Carlson.
Southwood, which has been located in Englewood for over 20 years, had planned to move 72 ex-offenders into the center for substance abuse treatment, but residents, school officials and even Ald. Toni Foulkes said they weren't consulted in advance.
Carlson said the center has 70 residential patients. Most of the 1,500 to 1,800 people they treat every year are seen as outpatients, he said.
He added that the average stay for a residential patient is between 30 to 40 days and Southwood, 5701 S. Wood St., sees between 70 to 75 outpatients daily.
Carlson said patients are treated based on their needs and not their criminal background, which is why some patients are residents at the center.
However, some parents at Henderson, 5650 S. Wolcott Ave., said while they understand drug rehab programs are needed, facilities should be located in more remote areas and not in residential neighborhoods.
"There are too many small children that walk past that place for it to be open," said Willie Sprowles, 62, who has six grandchildren at Henderson.
Foulkes (15th), whose ward includes the center, said she was relieved that no more ex-offenders would be moved into the facility.
"I did not want it and neither did the community," Foulkes said. "As I stated before, I am not against drug treatment centers but I am against centers located near schools and in communities already dealing with a drug problem."
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