Illinois Prisons
5:25 am
Wed July 24, 2013

County Proposes New Use For Shuttered Prison

Dwight Correctional Center
Credit John Howard Association of Illinois

Officials in Livingston County could vote as soon as next month to reuse part of the shuttered Dwight Correctional Center.

County Board members and state officials with Central Management Services toured a newer portion of the former women’s prison last week.  County Sheriff Marty Meredith wants to use the ‘X House’ to house about 300 federal inmates and those from neighboring counties with overflow.

Meredith says it will cost more than $1 million up front to hire about 40 employees.   But he expects to make it up quickly and then some by charging counties $50 a day for housing inmates, along with medical care.

“It’s almost the time for me to make sure that I’m double-checking my math, double-checking everything to make sure that this is exactly where I need to be at," Meredith said. "So when I present to them there’s no question in any of their minds so they can tell their constituents that they voted with all confidence.”

The X House is about 15 years old. Governor Pat Quinn closed the Dwight prison in March as part of a series of budget cuts.

Meredith says CMS is fully behind the idea.  No date has been set for a vote by the Livingston County Board.

Illinois Public Radio's Jeff Bossert contributed to this report.