Dixon Correctional Center

Dixon Correctional Center

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Dixon Correctional Center is a medium-security facility that also operates: the maximum-security Dixon Psychiatric Unit, which serves as the primary psychiatric correctional facility for the Illinois Department of Corrections; a Special Treatment Center for inmates with mental illness or developmental disabilities; and a substantial healthcare unit.

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Monitoring Reports

Executive Summary

As set out in JHA’s 2012 healthcare report, IDOC struggles to treat the growing number of inmates with special needs, including the elderly and individuals with mental illness. Since JHA’s 2010 visit, Dixon houses almost 200 more inmates, while its general population houses more than twice its rated or design capacity. As reflected in the crowding and demand for beds at Dixon, “[t]oday’s inmates are older, sicker, and staying in prison longer than ever before.”

The increased population and need at Dixon foreshadows a mounting crisis in correctional healthcare. In Illinois and across the country, inmates over 50 represent the fastest growing segment of prisoners. The average age of inmates at Dixon is on the rise; currently it is 42, roughly six years older than the average age of IDOC inmates. Age 50 and above is considered “elderly” for inmates, who are physiologically about 11 years older than their non-incarcerated peers. About 30 percent of the Dixon population are age 50 or older.

Executive Summary

On June 22, 2010, a group of John Howard Association staff and volunteers conducted a monitoring tour of Dixon Correctional Center, a medium security prison.

Dixon is a specialized prison. Its inmates include men with physical disabilities, chronic medical problems, developmental disabilities, and mental illness. The prison has a special unit for maximum security inmates suffering from severe psychiatric problems. Dixon also houses general population inmates.

This report focuses mainly on Dixon inmates with disabilities, both mental and physical, and geriatric inmates in particular.


Survey Reports