Following the recent closure of numerous buildings at the Pontiac Correctional Center, along with local concerns over the site’s future, State Senator Tom Bennett (R-Gibson City) has filed legislation calling for the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to provide a long-term plan for the facility.
“The Pontiac Correctional Center is an economic anchor for Livingston County and an important part of our state’s corrections system,” said Bennett. “We need to understand what the administration plans for the facility, so that the local community can prepare for any potential major changes and the ripples they could cause for the surrounding area. We also want to ensure that the administration is utilizing the facility in the best way to help the overall corrections system.”
Senate Resolution 215, filed by Bennett, calls on the Illinois Department of Corrections to release a long-term plan for the Pontiac Correctional Center (PCC), including:
- Plans for physical facilities/buildings, including maintenance needs and any planned repair projects, as well as any planned building closures.
- Planned staffing levels.
- Planned population levels for the individuals in custody.
- An analysis of how the PCC fits into the state corrections system.
Bennett noted that there has been significant concern in the Livingston County community over the future of the facility due to previous IDOC plans and partial closures.
In 2008, IDOC officials announced plans to close the entire facility by the end of that year. In early 2009, those plans were cancelled.
In early 2022, following the sudden transfer of inmates of PCC, along with a leak of internal planning documents to news media (that included a significant downsizing proposal), IDOC announced plans to close the facility’s medium security unit and reduce capacity from 1,740 beds to 642 beds.
Additionally, there have been reports of several attacks on corrections officers by inmates in recent months.
“The Pontiac Correctional Center is a vital component of our corrections system,” said Bennett. “We need to protect this vital asset for the future of the community and the state.”