Illinois Department of Corrections To Build $150M, 200-Bed Inpatient Treatment Center In Joliet

Nancy Harty
August 22, 2018 - 7:28 am

Illinois Department of Corrections/Facebook

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The state plans to break ground next month on a mental health facility for prisoners.  

The Illinois Department of Corrections officials announced Tuesday construction will begin next spring on a 200-bed mental health and medical correctional inpatient facility. 

The Joliet Treatment Center will cost about $150 million and help the Illinois Department of Corrections address a growing problem, according to Rodger Heaton, Governor Rauner's Chief of Staff.

"We've got more than 25 percent of the male offenders that are in the system have been diagnosed with a mental illness and it is even worse for the women," Heaton said.

The 180,000 square foot facility, located in Joliet, Illinois, on the same grounds as the existing Joliet Treatment Center, will house about 200 patients, both men and women, and employ more than 400, including physicians, nurse practitioners and psychologists.

The move comes after the Illinois Department of Corrections settled a lawsuit in 2016 that requires prison officials to provide adequate health services to about 12,000 inmates who suffer from mental illness. The lawsuit was filed in 2007 after severe funding cuts.

Gov. Bruce Rauner said the corrections department is working to improve services and to make sure staff members are trained to understand mental illness and to recognize the distress it causes inmates.

“Mental illness is a serious public health issue that impacts families across our state,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner, in a statement. “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.”