Master Plan Reveals “Illinois prisons need $2.5 billion in repairs, and that’s just the beginning” – wbez.org
CGL was contracted to develop a facilities master plan for the Illinois Department of Correction (IDOC). The goal of this project was to prioritize and identify IDOC’s physical plant needs that would allow it to more effectively meet its mission and goals. As part of this work the CGL team conducted an existing conditions assessment of each correctional facility included in the study, identified individual facility practices, and prioritized overall system needs.
“If you ask Rhonda Thompson about the problems with Logan Correctional Center, the Illinois prison where she’s incarcerated, she can rattle off a long list. There’s the pollution from the 1930s coal plant that powers the prison. The brown, slimy water. The stubborn mold.
And of course, there’s the raccoons — she remembers seeing their tiny hands poking through holes in the walls.
“Our environment is toxic,” she said. “All of us have sinus, throat, breathing or lung and fatigue issues.”
Logan, one of two women’s facilities in the state, is not the only prison with major infrastructure issues. On a cold February night in 2022, a problem with heat and hot water forced Illinois officials to transfer dozens of men from Pontiac Correctional Center. That same month civil rights lawyers filed a lawsuit over black mold, vermin, and sewage back ups at the Stateville Northern Reception and Classification Center prison. And since last December, ten state prisons have had drinking water violation notices issued from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Stories of dire conditions in Illinois prisons have been trickling out for years, but a new report from a consulting company hired by the state of Illinois to assess its prison infrastructure shows the situation might be even worse than previously revealed. In the report, obtained by WBEZ, consultants rated three of the department’s 27 facilities as approaching “inoperable” and estimated the prison system has at least $2.5 billion of “deferred maintenance,” the highest of any state agency. That number is expected to double in five years if unaddressed.”