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March 11, 2001

Governor Ryan Announces Plans for New Kankakee County Jail Moving Forward

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced more than $4 million dollars of Illinois FIRST funding will be made available for a new Kankakee County Jail, and that a site for the new jail has been selected. The $4.185 million will allow the Kankakee County Public Building Commission to move ahead with planning and site preparation.

"It's time for a new jail in Kankakee County, the current one is outdated," said Governor Ryan. "It's inadequate to meet the community's current needs, it's overcrowded and unsafe."

The $4.185 million dollars in Illinois FIRST funding will pay for planning, engineering, site preparation and extension of utilities and sewer to the site next to the Kankakee Airport. The Airport Authority has agreed to sell the land for the new jail to the Kankakee County Public Building Commission at a reduced price.

"Governor Ryan has really gotten the ball rolling for this project," said Kankakee County Public Building Commission Chairman Bill Gilmore. "This site works out best for the people of Kankakee County, it impacts fewer residents than other potential sites, and leaves us room to grow in the future if necessary."

The current Kankakee County Detention Center was built to house 100 inmates, but at times has had to hold more than 200. It does not meet federal or state minimum requirements and has been cited by corrections governing bodies for numerous violations. The Illinois Attorney General has cited the existing Kankakee County Detention Center on numerous occasions for overcrowding and inadequate design, making them in violation of numerous Illinois Jail Standard provisions.

"This new jail will serve for years to come," said Governor Ryan. "It will enhance public safety for all of us that live in Kankakee County, the guards that work at the jail, and even the prisoners."

Preliminary plans for the new county jail call for the ability to house 320 inmates.


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