JOLIET, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is gearing up to build a $150 million mental health and medical correctional inpatient facility that will provide the most intensive level of care for offenders who struggle with mental illness and who require long-term skilled nursing care.
The 180,000-square foot facility will be located in Joliet, on the same grounds as the existing Joliet Treatment Center. It’s the largest building construction project to be launched under Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has made criminal justice reform a priority during his administration.
“Mental illness is a serious public health issue that impacts families across our state,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner. “We’re working every day to make sure people have access to the treatment they need to cope and be whole. And, we’re making sure our correctional staff has the training they need to better understand mental illness, recognize when someone is in distress, and diffuse the situation in a positive way. This new facility will only enhance our efforts and lead to more productive outcomes.”
The new inpatient treatment center will ensure the IDOC meets its obligation to provide inpatient beds and programming space for seriously mentally ill offenders, as outlined in the Rasho v Baldwin settlement agreement. As part of the agreement, the IDOC has opened Joliet Treatment Center, Elgin Treatment Center and residential treatment units at Logan, Pontiac and Dixon Correctional Centers. IDOC has also increased programming for offenders on the mental health caseload, hired hundreds of additional staff, and implemented staff training on crisis intervention, effective communication, de-escalation techniques, mental health first aid, staff wellness, and more.
The 200-bed inpatient treatment center will provide services to both male and female offenders with a maximum patient capacity just over 200. Over 400 employees are expected to work at the facility including physicians, nurse practitioners and licensed psychologists.
“The state-of-the-art facility will serve as a national model for mental health treatment in corrections,” said IDOC Director John Baldwin. “An increasing number of individuals with mental illness are being sentenced to us, and we must provide the highest level of comprehensive care possible to ensure their success.”
The IDOC has partnered with the state’s Capital Development Board (CDB) to get the project off the ground. The CDB secured the services of architectural and engineering firms Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK) and Pulitzer/Bogard & Associates, LLC, to complete a programming analysis and preliminary design of the facility.
The CDB is currently looking for a design-build team that will complete the remaining design and lead construction of the facility, which will also include a new administration building and utility plant. The IDOC anticipates breaking ground on the new facility in the spring of 2019.
“This is an excellent example of state agencies working together with talented consultants for an important cause,” said CDB Director Jeff Heck. “The project team has developed a vision for what will be a world-class facility to help DOC achieve its mission of enhancing mental health care for those in custody. Thanks to our ability to use the design-build project delivery method, we’ll save a significant amount of time when it comes to completing the project.”