Stateville prison to be demolished and rebuilt, Gov. Pritzker announces

The state plans to demolish and rebuild Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday.

Pritzker announced a plan to rebuild both Stateville and Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln over the next three to five years.

The project involves the temporary closure of both prisons.

“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,” according to the news release from the governor’s office.

The governor’s proposed 2025 capital budget includes $900 million to demolish and rebuild both prisons, the release said.

“The capital funds dedicated to Stateville and Logan further demonstrate our commitment to continuing to rebuild and strengthen our state’s infrastructure,” Pritzker said in the release. “These investments will allow staff to work in modern and safe facilities, ensure those who are incarcerated can safely serve out their sentences, and save taxpayers hundreds of millions in deferred maintenance costs from years of neglect.”

Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman issued a statement saying the Stateville plan should lead to an expanded facility and ensure its future in the city.

“We are optimistic that these improvements and new facility could produce economic development on some of the surrounding properties,” Soliman said. “We are also optimistic that this announcement will end the speculation and uncertainty of the future of this prison site.”

Soliman said Crest Hill officials were notified of the plan on Thursday afternoon.

“While the state has not yet finalized its plans for the Stateville facility, it has made it clear it is committed to working closely with all stakeholders that will be impacted by this potential project, including the city of Crest Hill,” Soliman said. The city of Crest Hill looks forward to learning more details about the planned new, state-of-the-art Stateville Correctional Center and collaborating with the Department of Corrections to ensure local concerns are effectively addressed and the overall Stateville site is improved and enhanced in conjunction with this project.”

Stateville opened in 1925.

Speculation about its future has dogged the prison for at least 16 years.

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2008 proposed closing Stateville but did not follow through on the plan.

In 2016, Gov. Bruce Rauner closed F House, which held 348 inmates who were moved elsewhere. The roundhouse, a circular building with cells around the perimeter and guard stations in the center, was the last of its kind in the United States, the Illinois Department of Corrections noted when announcing its closure.

The Stateville complex now holds 1,927 inmates, according to the DOC website.

But only 453 are in Stateville Correctional Center. The Northern Reception and Classification Center, a newer facility built in 2004 outside Stateville’s stone walls, has an inmate population of 1,312. Another 162 inmates are in the Stateville Minimum Security Unit, which opened in 2003.

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