Illinois to Spend $900 Million on Prison Updates

Estimated read time 4 min read

The state of Illinois is tackling a major project to improve its prisons. Governor J.B. Pritzker just unveiled an ambitious plan that will pour $900 million into revamping two major facilities, Stateville Correctional Center in Crest and Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln. With this move, the state is taking a huge step forward in updating prisons that are nearly 100 years old, addressing ongoing worries about safety, upkeep, and how prisoners are treated.


The Change Is Long Overdue

Built in 1925, Stateville Correctional Center stands as a relic of past prison design practices in Illinois. It’s currently home to over 4,000 inmates and has been falling apart for quite some time. Fixing up the aging site has become increasingly expensive and necessary due to issues with the building’s stability. Logan Correctional Center faces similar problems.

The Logan Correctional Center is in limbo about where it’ll be rebuilt, but it’s clear that sticking band aids on its issues isn’t working anymore. State officials are thinking hard about whether they should keep trying to fix the old place or just start over.

CGL did a deep dive for the Illinois Department of Corrections and flagged Logan and Stateville as the places drowning in repair bills. Illinois has big plans to build something new within the next three to five years that’ll be safer, run better, and treat everyone inside more humanely.


Addressing Deferred Maintenance and Safety Concerns

Governor Pritzker’s team is making moves because they know they’ve been skimping on prison upkeep for too long. But this plan isn’t only about laying down new stones. it’s a promise to really shake up how things work in Illinois prisons and cut out tons of avoidable expenses.

Decades of negligence have led to upkeep costs soaring into the tens of millions. “These investments let our staff work in modern, safe spaces, help incarcerated individuals safely complete their sentences, and cut down on hundreds of millions in maintenance costs that piled up from years of not taking care,” said Governor Pritzker.

Building these new facilities means following the State Facilities Closure Act’s strict rules. This ensures a careful and measured process for this huge shift. Even though there’s no set date to start building yet, people are looking forward to these changes with hope and even some relief.


Legal and Community Perspectives

Lawyers who represent inmates at Stateville in lawsuits over poor conditions are praising this news. For a long time, they’ve claimed the rundown state of these places puts peoples’ safety at risk.

The health and safety of people living in these places are at risk. They could be exposed to harmful legionella bacteria, pests, or not have enough protection from very hot or cold weather.

Heather Lewis Donnell, who is involved in the class action lawsuit against IDOC, said this move should have happened a long time ago. She pointed out that lawsuits and efforts to get the word out helped make people aware of the problems. In a similar vein, the John Howard Association welcomed the recognition of the poor condition of these facilities as an important part towards honoring inmates’ dignity and rights.


Union Concerns and Community Impact

But the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which has more than 10,000 IDOC workers as members has some worries because they weren’t asked for their input on this new investment plan. The union is asking tough questions about how moving prisoners around temporarily could throw off other communities’ stability.

The city’s amenities and the health of impacted workers. Ray Soliman, the Mayor of Crest Hill, is hopeful that the Stateville project will not just make sure of the facility’s long-lasting presence but also boost local economic growth. The city is eager to work hand in hand with the Department of Corrections to tackle community concerns and improve the facility area along with this new venture.


A Vision for the Future

The bold move to revamp Stateville and Logan Correctional Centers marks a big shift in how Illinois deals with its prisons. With a focus on modern, secure, and humane spaces, Illinois intends to better living conditions for staff and prisoners alike. Tearing down and rebuilding these centers will stop all the guesswork about their fate, laying out a plan for a correction system that focuses more on fixing individuals up, respecting them as people, and treating them right.

As Illinois presses ahead with these essential projects, the priority is to make sure we protect jobs. We must also listen to what the community and employees are worried about and most importantly, show that we’re dedicated to fairness, helping people adjust, and looking after everyone’s health.

Celina Brooks

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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