Logan Correctional Center
Logan Correctional Center
Logan Correctional Center is located in Lincoln, Illinois, about a two hour and forty-five minute drive south of Chicago and a 30-minute drive north of Springfield. Logan was repurposed in March 2013 as a multiple security level female facility, which also operates the female intake Reception and Classification center for the Illinois Department of Corrections.
From the National Resource Center on Justice Involved Women and the Women's Justice Initiative, this report was authored by Executive Director of CORE Associates, Alyssa Benedict, and the Women’s Justice Initiative Founder & Project Director, Deanne Benos. It is the result of the comprehensive Gender-Informed Practice Assessment (GIPA) that was conducted at Logan Correctional Center in October 2015, which was the first-ever gender responsive assessment conducted by IDOC at any women’s prison. The Assessment Team included both Gwyn Troyer, Director of JHA's Prison Monitoring Project, and Lynn Cahill-Masching, a former JHA Board Member.
In March 2013, IDOC repurposed Logan Correctional Center (Logan) by moving out its male population and moving in the combined female populations from Dwight Correctional Center (Dwight) and Lincoln Correctional Center (Lincoln). JHA opposed the Dwight closure primarily because we were concerned that without first reducing population it would merely consolidate more people into less space and exacerbate prison overcrowding.
IDOC officials requested that JHA delay visiting the new Logan facility until November 2013, to allow time for the population and staff to acclimate. In the early months of Logan’s operation as a female facility, JHA received reports regarding safety concerns, medication issues, and mail delays.
At the time of the November 4, 2013 JHA monitoring visit, the administrative team of wardens had all been assigned to the facility for about 30 days, after the facility underwent a security review in July 2013. During that visit we were informed that since the new administration took charge at Logan, immediate improvements were made to inmate movement, commissary procedures, and dietary services. Administrators’ goals included improving healthcare, library scheduling, increasing activity for maximum-security inmates, and increased staffing, including in the mailroom. They stated that barriers to improvements included the size and diversity of the population. Given the newness of the leadership team and challenges in creating an essentially new female facility, JHA staff revisited Logan in February and July 2014. IDOC officials were provided with draft versions of this report prior to the July visit and subsequently, to ensure they were aware of our observations and major concerns.
Although JHA cannot confirm the validity of every report set forth herein, we present these perspectives in accordance with human rights monitoring practices. Many of the concerns detailed herein were common across all interested parties based on inmate, staff, administrator, citizen, and monitor reports. While some issues have improved, accommodating diverse populations in overcrowded, under-resourced conditions is not easily resolved. The most glaring ongoing problem is that mental health resources are clearly and admittedly inadequate at Logan, and hence for the female population of IDOC.
During the visits, as recently as July, JHA heard from inmates and staff that they felt the new administration was taking necessary steps to improve the facility’s operations. Staffing had increased slightly with some key hires. Staff also attributed improvements at the facility to better mental health screening and treatment, in addition to the passage of time. Concurrently over this period, changes have begun at Logan in response to ongoing litigation regarding mental health treatment, particularly as it pertains to crisis care and disciplinary issues within IDOC.
JHA appreciated administrators’ frankness about problems they faced. Administrators emphasized the importance of communication – for example, communicating the reasons for obstacles they faced, so that an individual prisoner or staff member would not believe that she was treated unfairly where the facility was simply unable to comply with a request. JHA also credits administration for holding staff accountable for misconduct, particularly given the significant staffing shortages at the facility. Due to the hard work and investment of many involved, Logan had begun the move from triage mode to a more stable environment for inmates and staff. However, after two recent suicides occurring within 30 days, JHA has again heard from inmates, families, and staff that they feel Logan lacks the resources and space to address the needs of the population.
This report is presented in five parts—Part I: Transitions, Part II: Reception & Classification, Part III: Healthcare, Part IV: Living Conditions, and Part V: Programming.
On March 2, representatives of the John Howard Association conducted a monitoring tour of Logan Correctional Center. They visited a general population housing unit, medical/mental health unit, educational and vocational training facilities and segregation unit. Logan is a medium security male prison.
Logan appears to be a well-run prison with above average educational and vocational programs. But the prison suffers from a serious shortage of staff.
Alex Dawson, Assistant Warden of Programs at Logan, said the prison now has a total staff of 300, of which 196 are correctional officers. To be fully staffed the prison should have another 74 correctional officers, 15 higher-ranking managerial officers and 44 non-security staff, he said.
The staff shortage has been ongoing for years. Six years ago the prison’s staff totaled 400.
At the time of the tour, Logan’s inmate population was 1,850, close to its maximum capacity, so the drop in number of staff cannot be attributed to fewer people being incarcerated at the facility.
The staff shortages are across the board, Dawson said, ranging from construction tradesmen to mental health professionals.
The shortage is illustrated in Logan’s medical and mental health care unit.
The unit is authorized for 12 full-time registered nurses with at least one required to be on premises at all times. But the prison has only five RNs on staff. (Logan does maintain a RN on premises at all times despite the staff shortage.)
One RN said she has been working a minimum of six days a week since last summer.
The workload has increased tremendously and inevitably things are going to happen,” the RN said. She is afraid she will make a mistake in care because of overwork.
The prison is authorized to employ two psychologists to provide care 64 hours a week, but since mid-2006 there has only been one to provide care just 40 hours a week. Similar shortages in mental health care staff were noted this year at two other prisons, Dwight Correctional Center and Pontiac Correctional Center.
Logan is authorized to employ two full-time dental hygienists, but has only one. A health information specialist position has been vacant for nine years.
Logan’s medical staff must on occasion care for seriously or terminally ill inmates who require more personnel than the typical inmate patient.
The shortage of staff is exacerbated by the state legislature’s curtailment of early release programs and a simultaneous crackdown on parole violators early this year. Those factors meant Logan received 400 inmates in a single week in early February, far more than usual.
The deluge of inmates stretched staff to the limit. For example, medical staff were required to examine each incoming inmate for infection with the H1N1 flu virus and isolate any thought to be infected. This added to an already formidable workload of routine duties.
Logan’s medical staff and supervisor said they have been able to maintain good quality of care despite the shortage of personnel. No inmates complained about medical care when interviewed by John Howard representatives.
Dawson said the staff shortage has not compromised employee or inmate health, safety or security nor has it created any threat to the public. But this is only due to extensive and often mandatory overtime required of staff, he said.
The John Howard Association recognizes the financial constraints on the Illinois Department of Corrections. The Association however strongly recommends the state bring Logan closer to full staffing to reduce overtime, avoid employee burnout and limit future problems at the prison.