Transformative IDOC Plans Does Not Include Mention of Shuttered Greene Co. Boot Camp

By Benjamin Cox on April 4, 2024 at 9:10am

Older aerial file photo of the Greene Co. Work Camp just off U.S. 67, located between Roodhouse and White Hall. (IDOC)

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration announced on March 15th plans to demolish and rebuild two corrections facilities. The proposal didn’t include an idled facility in Greene County.

The new IDOC facilities plan has a few Illinois Department of Corrections unions up in arms over the proposal.

Pritzker announced that he plans to dedicate capital funds to rebuild Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln and Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill. Pritzker says that he will work with IDOC and the Capital Development Board and stakeholders on a timeline and next steps, with work to begin pending capital appropriations in the FY25 budget. Based on assessments of each facility and land availability, it is anticipated that Stateville will be temporarily closed and demolished with a new facility to be built on its grounds. The status of Logan in the interim is still to be worked through with various stakeholders, and the location of the new facility is still being finalized.

The plan estimates construction costs will total between $805 to $935 million. Pritzker says it will save the State of Illinois an average of $34 million in annual operations savings. The two facilities cannot have a solid date of demolition and closure until all requirements of the State Facilities Closure Act are met. The design and buildout of the new facilities is anticipated to be completed over the next three to five years.

AFSCME Council 31 released a statement soon after the announcement saying that the input of frontline employees or the union was not considered in the proposal. Executive Director of AFSCME Council 31 Roberta Lynch says the proposal, if put into action, would greatly destabilize the prison system in the state, and would also result in en mass layoffs.

Republican State Senator Sally Turner of Beason, Republican State Representative Bill Hauter of Morton Logan County Board Chairman Emily Davenport, and Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch released a joint statement on the same day saying that without reassurance from the Pritzker Administration that a new facility would be built in Lincoln that the decision was “both devastating and infuriating.”

Democrat State Senator Rachel Ventura of Joliet echoed similar concerns for Stateville employees and the Will County community.

Meanwhile, the Pritzker Administration still has issued no plans for the shuttered 200-person Greene County Boot Camp that was idled in March 2020. A permanent closure of that facility has never been announced and its future is uncertain. According to figures obtained from officials with the Illinois Department of Corrections, expenses for the shuttered Greene County facility was just over $48,000 for utilities, maintenance, food, and fuel for the facility between July 1, 2023 until March 15, 2024. The figure did not contain the wages and benefits for the at least one person staffed at the facility at all times.