Menard Correctional Center


Menard Correctional Center is a Level One maximum-security adult male facility located in Chester, Illinois. It is the largest maximum-security facility in the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). Read JHA's latest report. (PDF)

Vital Statistics Total Population: 3,769 Maximum-Security Facility Population: 3,332 Maximum-Security Rated Capacity: 2,600 Maximum-Security Operational Capacity: 3,417 Average Annual Cost Per Inmate (FY 2012): $20,507 Committing offenses: 56% Murder, 26% Class X, 7% Class 1, 6% Class 2, 2% Class 3, and 3% Class 4 felonies. Source IDOC January 2014

Key Observations

  • Menard has successfully implemented positive behavioral incentives and increased positive activity, while substantially decreasing use of lockdown.
  • Since JHA’s December 2012 visit, Menard has improved inmate access to law library and the grievance system.
  • While transparency and accountability at the facility increased in several regards, continued improvements are necessary.
  • Recent media coverage of inmates in Administrative Detention on hunger strike increased public interest in Menard.


JHA's work on healthcare in the Illinois Department of Correction is supported by a generous grant from the Michael Reese Health Trust