Lawrence Correctional Center

Lawrence Correctional Center


Lawrence Correctional Center is located in Lawrence County, Illinois, about a four hour drive south of Chicago and an hour southeast of Effingham, near the Indiana border. It is a medium-security male facility within the Illinois Department of Corrections.

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Monitoring Reports

Executive Summary

IDOC has reported some notable improvements at Lawrence since JHA’s March 2014 visit in response to review of our draft report, including expanding use of dayroom, creating a transitional housing unit, filling counselor vacancies, and acknowledging some hiring priorities, particularly as related to mental health care. We commend this progress and look forward to observing these changes on future monitoring visits. At the time of JHA’s March 2014 visit, staff and inmates alike stated that Lawrence is “a medium run like a max.” Lawrence opened in November 2001 as a “Level 2” facility, a step below a maximum. Lawrence is a high-security medium facility and staff at Lawrence remarked,

“IDOC changed from seven security levels to three, but there are more than three types of inmates.” When IDOC used a seven-level security system, administration told JHA that they often placed inmates in facilities like Lawrence as a kind of warning, alerting them to the fact that they were one step away from being moved to a maximum-security facility. With the 2013 facility closures and IDOC reclassifying facilities as only minimum, medium, or maximum-security, Lawrence has recently undergone the beginning of a transformation, with dayroom first being offered at the facility for some inmates in the past year.

More than half of the population at Lawrence, 1,215 inmates, were unassigned and lacked work or educational assignments. This meant without dayroom, outside of meals, showers, and five hours of recreation weekly, these medium-security inmates had no opportunity to leave their cells. Waitlists for programming at Lawrence were some of the highest reported to JHA, although we commend staff for capturing demand at the facility instead of artificially capping the lists. The fact is that some other IDOC medium-security facilities are less restrictive environments. Many inmates viewed transfers from other medium-security facilities to Lawrence as punitive or wanted to transfer out. IDOC noted that inmates often desire to be transferred closer to their home region and due to bedspace constraints this is difficult to accommodate.

Survey Reports