Despite having a lesser incarceration rate than other US states, Illinois is home to over 42,000 inmates that are serving in different security classes at its state prisons. According to the data from Prison Profile, Illinois locks up 497 people per 100,000. While the number is still higher when compared with other democracies around the world but when compared with other US states, this is relatively low.
The majority of incarcerated men per race in Illinois are Black African Americans followed by American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic, and white Americans.
What are the problems faced by Illinois prisons that make them the worst?
The following are the problems faced by Illinois prisons which include:
- Lack of proper medical care of inmates. A total of 47,298 inmates in different state and county prisons contracted COVID-19 in 2020 alone which suggests how poor medical care is in Illinois prisons.
- Hygiene issues where inmates do not have access to clean toilets, cell rooms, and meals. Which often causes health issues.
- Gang fights and murder. Cases of violence are rampant in Illinois prisons and oftentimes deaths are not reported to the public.
- The strength of guards is less in different prisons which is also a reason why powerful inmates can exert their control over different inmates.
- Overpopulation of prisons.
How can the prison population be decreased in Illinois?
One of the biggest reasons why the prison population is so high in Illinois is due to the state and authorities failing to stop prison admission for technical violations of probation and paroles. Both of these are not crimes but offenders are made to rather serve their probation and parole in Illinois state prisons.
The issue is still under discussion and there is a chance that authorities might solve it as this will help to save a good amount of taxpayers' money.
What are the 7 worst prisons in Illinois?
The following are the 7 worst prisons in Illinois:
Stateville Correctional Center:
The Stateville Correctional Center (SCC) is a maximum security prison in the US state of Illinois. It has a capacity of 4,134 most dangerous inmates in Illinois. The prison was opened in 1925 and over the years has grown its capacity.
Prison is one of the worst places anyone can imagine being in. Not only is there a constant fear of getting killed by other gang members but the living conditions in this prison are also hellish. The drinking water is considered to be unfit to drink, meals served are often less for an inmate’s nutrition requirement, living quarters or cells do not have clean sanitation services and so much more.
On top of it, all are the guards who use their extra force to exhibit control. For the guards, this is the only way through which they can exert pressure and discipline. This is also why former inmates have accused them of receiving beatings from guards and also being put in solitary confinement whenever they feel like it.
Menard Correctional Center:
The second prison on our list is the Menard Correctional Center. The prison was known as Southern Illinois Penitentiary. It is located in Chester and houses maximum security and high medium security adult males. The capacity is over 3,861 and is considered to be overcrowded which is a problem that has existed ever since the prison was developed.
This prison is like living in hell. The reports coming out of the prison describe the indoor situation to be as worst as one can imagine it to be. The guards have been reported to be part of criminal activities such as fights, drug use, and sexual violence that take place.
Their behavior is reported to be “non-cooperative,” and this is also a reason why the situation in this prison is so terrible.
Dixon Correctional Center:
With a capacity of 2,529 and opened in 1983, the prison is a medium security all adult male prison.
One of the major problems that this prison face is staff shortages. According to a 2022 report, the prison lacks 200 guards. Since the prison is a minimum security prison, no one is paying attention the way they should and this is why over the years the issue of staff shortages has not been addressed.
The ones to suffer are the inmates as due to staff shortages, their access to free time, and educational facilities are controlled and at times stopped thus adding to the discomfort and agony within inmates. Additionally, facilities in this prison are also deteriorating and if not taken care of in the coming years, they can get worse.
Pinckneyville Correctional Center:
Located in Pinckneyville, Illinois, the facility was opened in 1998 and comprises five general population housing units along with segregation, administration, and health care units. The prison has a capacity of 2,701 and is a medium security class prison.
While the authorities can maintain law and order in this prison and this is why this prison is a place where murders taking place are very uncommon, however, what makes this prison on the list of worst prisons in Illinois is due to the poor facilities given to the inmates largely associated with the overcrowding of this prison.
The authorities simply do not have enough services to offer to the inmates since it is overstretched.
Illinois River Correctional Center:
A medium security state prison is located in Canton, Illinois, and was opened in 1989.
Similar to other prisons in Illinois, this prison is also facing staff shortages, overcrowding, gang wars, drug overdosing, and frequent assault on other inmates. The authorities are simply unable to provide adequate services to the inmates and their well-being which adds a question mark on the mission of this prison.
Serving time in this prison is going to be filled with extreme discomfort.
Centralia Correctional Center:
The second last on our list is Centralia Correctional Center. Much of what goes inside this prison is not revealed to the public until Warden Bowne in an interview talked about the challenges he and his team face.
Authorities are always on alert when they are made to work even extra hours at a time to ensure there is proper law and order at hand. Inmates are always causing trouble and leave no opportunity. Whenever they find an opportunity, they will cause problems and this is why assaults are common in this prison.
Authorities have ensured they keep an eye but former inmates have reported that is not always the case sometimes even the guards are part of the problem and they let things turn dark whenever they feel like it.
Logan Correctional Center:
The last prison on our list is Logan Correctional Center. The prison is an all-female prison located in Broadwell Township, near Lincoln Illinois. The prison houses 2,284 female inmates.
According to a 2016 report by the Department of Justice, the conditions in this prison were found to be unacceptable because of several reasons. Inmates are not given access to things that are promised to them and are their right, cells are unclean and unhygienic, women have reported being physically harmed by other male guards, and drinking water is not clean enough.
All of these issues make the prison to be unlivable for its inmates and a place that requires rampant changes.
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