SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois has been in the center of prison closures and has recently added more facilities to its list. Since news broke of Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to close Tamms Correctional Center, the state’s only supermax prison, Illinois has been in a scramble to deal with the state’s other facilities as well as its increased inmate population.
Another facility that recently shut its doors is the Dwight Correctional Center (a women’s facility). As a result of the closure, other state facilities began to set up temporary housing for minimum-security inmates in order to house displaced inmates. This closure means there are only two women’s prisons now in the entire state.
The women from Dwight will be housed at Logan Correctional Center and combined with female inmates from Lincoln Correctional Center to create a multi-security level facility — but in order to make room for the women, men who are currently housed at Logan Correctional Center will be moved to Lincoln Correctional Center (the former women’s facility). It is a tricky move, to say the least.
Six Illinois prisons have set up temporary housing units in prison gymnasiums in order to house the near 600 minimum-security male inmates that were previously housed at Logan Correctional Center. The facilities include, Centralia, Vandalia, Danville, Shawnee, Graham and Illinois River.
However, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) says the housing is only temporary and the move has been smooth without any reported incidents.
“The gymnasiums in those facilities will be temporarily set up as dormitory units for minimum-security inmates. IDOC utilizes community environments in many of its facilities to safely secure low-level offenders. Inmates in these six facilities will continue to have access to dayrooms and yards for recreation,” said Marcelyn Love, IDOC public information officer in an email.
There is no official timeframe as to how long these inmates will stay in temporary housing, but as Love points out, “The department anticipates the need for the temporary housing units to decrease in the coming months. There are many factors that can affect placement of an inmate. The inmate population remains at a level that can be securely managed, and as always, inmates will have appropriate supervision.”