Lincoln Correctional Center
Lincoln Correctional Center
Lincoln Correctional Center is a medium security adult male facility located in Lincoln, Illinois, about three hours southwest of Chicago and 40 minutes northeast of Springfield.
On February 22, 2012, the John Howard Association (JHA) visited Lincoln Correctional Center (Lincoln), a Medium Security Adult Female facility located in Lincoln, Illinois, about three hours southwest of Chicago and 40 minutes northeast of Springfield. Lincoln was built in 1984 and consists of 14 buildings situated on 25 acres. The facility includes five dormitory-style general population-housing units that contain bunk beds for 20 female inmates per room, an 11-bed segregation unit, and a seven-bed healthcare unit. The facility does not have a separate mental health unit. At the time of JHA’s visit, Lincoln housed 1,009 inmates, making it roughly 198 percent over its design/rated capacity of 500 inmates. The facility has bed space for 1,018 women. The segregation unit and the healthcare unit were full to capacity, housing 11 inmates and seven inmates, respectively.
In his 2013 fiscal year budget, Governor Quinn proposed closing several Illinois correctional facilities, which would involve repurposing Lincoln. Specifically, the Governor’s proposal includes plans to: (1) close Dwight Correctional Center (Illinois’ only Maximum Security Adult Female Facility and the current location of the Reception and Classification Center for female inmates); (2) move the population of Logan Correctional Center (a Medium Security Adult Male Facility) to Lincoln; and (3) relocate and redistribute Dwight’s and Lincoln’s populations between Decatur Correctional Center (a Minimum Security Adult Female Facility) and Logan Correctional Center (which is to be converted into a female facility).
The logistics remain challenging as to how and where Dwight’s special populations (which include chronically and terminally ill inmates, inmates with serious mental illness, and inmates in protective custody) will be placed. As it stands, Dwight, Lincoln, and Decatur are already filled well beyond their design capacities. The collective design/rated capacity for Logan and Decatur (the proposed sites to house all female inmates in Illinois in the future) is 1,574 inmates. The collective number of female inmates in Illinois, however, is approximately 2,700.
On March 3 representatives of the John Howard Association conducted a monitoring tour of Lincoln Correctional Center. They visited a general population unit, segregation unit, educational/vocational facilities, mental health unit, medical clinic and commissary. Lincoln is a medium-security prison with a capacity to house 998 women.
Warden Melody Hulett has a policy of offering educational, vocational and rehabilitative classes and programs to as many Lincoln inmates as possible. This laudable policy is complicated by the fact that the prison is uncomfortably close to full. (See Crowding section below.)
Approximately 65 percent of Lincoln’s inmate population is involved in educational, vocational or rehabilitative programs. Prison management said the number would approach 100 percent if enough staff and other resources were available.
Last year 50 inmates earned their GED, a pass rate of 93 percent. Prison staff said the remarkably high pass rate was partly due to pre-GED testing. Those who score well on the preliminary testing are deemed highly likely to succeed and are given priority in taking the actual GED test.
Currently 75 inmates are enrolled in GED classes and another 42 are on a waiting list.