Several of the Illinois General Assembly’s newest lawmakers were given a rare inside look at the day-to-day operations of the Pontiac Correctional Center, thanks to a tour and visit organized by State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
"The Pontiac Correctional Center is an important engine for this part of the state, and it plays a major role in keeping our citizens safe,” said Senator Barickman. “I want to make sure my colleagues understand the vital work done here in Pontiac.”
The Pontiac Correctional Facility first opened in 1871, and is currently tasked with serving as a maximum security prison that houses the most serious offenders in the state correctional system. The facility also houses prisoners in protective custody, as well as many serious offenders entering the correction system.
Lawmakers on the tour were able to see maximum and medium security prisoner housing and activity areas, as well as sustainability efforts that include feeding food scraps to earth worms in a composting operations. Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) officials also offered the legislators an update on major upgrades and expansions aimed at improving mental health treatment for inmates.
“It always amazes me how well the Pontiac administration and correctional officers are able to handle such a diverse and potentially difficult inmate population,” said Senator Barickman. “I hope my colleagues have a new respect for those efforts and understand the importance of working with IDOC to make sure the Pontiac mission remains successful.”
Senator Barickman hosts the tour every two years and invites all lawmakers from both chambers and parties who were not serving in the General Assembly during the previous tour.