Robinson Correctional Center
Robinson Correctional Center
Robinson Correctional Center is a minimum-security male facility within the Illinois Department of Corrections located in Robinson, Illinois, about a four hour drive south of Chicago and an hour east of Effingham on the Indiana border.
Administrators proudly describe Robinson as a program-oriented facility, noting that they have invested a lot to create this environment. Staff at this facility expressed that their supervisors were skilled at educating line staff about the importance of programming and reentry preparation, more so than what staff had experienced at other IDOC facilities. Explaining the reasons for, and importance of, such efforts is critical in creating staff buy in and a learning environment. Both administrators and staff at Robinson expressed appreciation that keeping inmates busy helps not only for inmates’ future prospects, when they may become staffs’ neighbors, but also aids in the facility with day-to-day security. They also described a mutually supportive relationship between programming and security.
Indeed, this minimum-security facility is one of the better programming facilities within IDOC with almost a third of the inmates partaking in educational classes, numerous inmates with more than one assignment (e.g. school and work), and less than 20% of the population reported unassigned to any programming or work at the facility. The facility also makes constructive use of inmate peer aides. JHA applauds providing inmates with constructive activity and positive community engagement.
Administrators noted that innovative programming ideas were supported at Robinson and stated that the facility was one of the foremost among all IDOC facilities in graduations and certifications for inmates, giving inmates tangible results to help them with reentry.
The average length of stay at Robinson is a little over a year. One percent of the Robinson population had been sentenced to more than twenty years, but the facility did not house any inmates with life sentences. At the time of the visit, about 17% of the population was under 21 years old and 12% was over 50.
At over 200% of designed capacity and 99.3% of operational capacity, Robinson’s minimum-security inmates are housed in 20-bed dorm areas and enjoy reasonably free movement relative to most IDOC facilities. JHA visitors’ impression of the dorm areas and dayrooms was that they seemed cramped, but functional. There were some visibility issues in dorms, but minimum-security inmates lacking privacy will likely report misconduct because they will not want to be sanctioned based on one individual’s poor conduct.
Robinson offers notable programming including a housing unit dedicated to a reentry program called “Transitions” for 200 men, a retired greyhound program, programs that train inmates to become state certified substance abuse treatment professionals, and impressive vocational offerings. With these established programs Robinson administrators have demonstrated that they are proactive in adopting evidence-based and treatment centric practices that aid in successful reentry.