HOPKINS PARK - Governor George H. Ryan today attended a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $100 million state prison in Hopkins Park to house the growing number of female offenders in Illinois and enable the reception and classification process for all female inmates to be moved closer to Cook County.
“This new facility will help us deal with a growing problem in the state’s prisons – a female inmate population that is increasing faster than other groups,” said Governor Ryan. “From the rehabilitation services available to the women housed here to the immediate economic benefits for the community, building this prison right here in Pembroke Township is a good and necessary investment for the state.”
The 1,800-bed facility is scheduled to open early in 2005 and will employ nearly 300 workers during construction. When the prison is operational, it will have a $54 million budget and employ approximately 750 correctional officers and staff members.
The Hopkins Park site was chosen in 1999 after a selection process determined that it was best suited to the Department of Corrections criteria including close proximity to Cook County and the surrounding community’s economic needs.
Pembroke Township is one of the state’s poorest communities and this new prison will help bring additional investment to the community. Also, it is important to have the women’s facility close to Cook County because about 65 percent of Illinois' female inmate population are from Cook and the collar counties and 81 percent of those women have children. The Hopkins Park site has direct access from Chicago via Interstate 57, and bus and train services are available in nearby Kankakee.
“This facility will put women inmates within reach of various social services and educational opportunities in the Chicago area,” added Governor Ryan.
The facility was designed by HDR Architects of Chicago to best suit the needs of the Department of Corrections to operate the Multi-Level Security prison. The entire site is approximately 140 acres, with 40 acres within the secure perimeter. One cellhouse will house the reception and classification area, one cellhouse will be used for segregation, condemned and protective custody and the other three general population cellhouses have been designed for use at any security level. There will also be a mental health care facility with 60 beds.
Funding for the facility was originally appropriated in Fiscal Year 2000 in the amount of $88.3 million and an additional $4.47 million was appropriated in Fiscal Year 2003. The federal government has committed $11 million towards the construction.