The Illinois Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations oversees the working of correctional facilities that are used as incarceration centers as well as establishments that serve as rehabilitative work facilities which play an integral role in the smooth transition of an offender from the prison system into the society. In all, the Illinois DOC maintains 27 correctional facilities along with numerous boot and work camps, transition centers and reception and classification facilities.
Established in 1970, the DOC manages all the incarceration and correctional facilities and programs in the state including juvenile detention centers, adult and juvenile parole program. Apart from this, the Department of Corrections also acts as a source of information for various government agencies as well as members of the community as they disseminate public records and conduct periodic analysis of crime and prisoner data.
A look inside the Illinois Department of Corrections
At the helms of the department is the director who reports directly to the governor of the Illinois. The next level of organizational hierarchy is occupied by the assistant directors and chiefs of the various sections of the DOC. The working of the agency are divided in a series of branches such as rehabilitation programs, parole, inmate issues, operations, counsel and community outreach etc. Every section is further divided based on the services it offers and a team of professionals is entrusted the task of taking care of the day to day operations of these divisions.
The facilities managed by the Illinois DOC
The incarceration centers maintained and managed by Illinois DOC can be clubbed into three categories
Prisons:Of the 27 adult incarceration facilities that are managed bythe department of corrections, just one is a closed maximum security center while a psychiatric facility and 4 correctional establishments are rated as maximum security prisons. The remaining centers are categorized as medium security facilities. These centers are used to hold back criminals who are serving sentences for serious felonies and pose a potential threat to the community as well as correctional officers.
Dwight has two incarceration facilities, one for male inmates and a center for female offenders. Most prisons managed by the Illinois DOC have an inmate capacity range of 700 to over 2000 and they offer a range of correctional programs including vocational and basic academic courses.
Rehabilitation centers:Both medium and minimum security prisons provide rehabilitation programs for inmates in a bid to make their transition into the community simpler and easier once they are released. There are a total of 19 incarceration facilities; some of these centers also have separate maximum security sections.
Transition facilities: Minimum security centers that inmates are held in toward the end of their sentence, the emphasis in transitional facilities lays on introducing inmates back into the community work culture. These centers allow offenders to go out and hold paying jobs in the society while serving the last six months of their prison term in the correctional facility.
Only a few chosen inmates who have been recommended by the parole board of the state and prison staff are shifted to these facilities. A range of factors like the nature of the crime committed, offender behavior and sentence length are considered when inmates are selected for transitional facility programs.
Rehabilitation initiatives undertaken by the Department
Studies into criminal psychology and rehabilitation have revealed that offenders who are imparted essential life and professional skills which ease their eventual transition into the society are less likely to revert to their old lifestyle. So, in a bid to reduce recidivism, most correctional centers now offer academic and vocational programs along with therapeutic initiatives for substance abuse and sexual offenders.
Apart from this, the Adult Redeploy program was also put into place to tackle the growing number of nonviolent offenders without unduly burdening the state’s resources. Pursuant to the Public act of Illinois, 96-0761 community service plans are now being used as a punitive measure to correct the behavior of individuals involved in non violent misdemeanors and felonies without sending them into the prison system.
The Illinois Department of Corrections also offers a myriad of other services that help to foster a safer living environment in counties all across the state. These community help endeavors include an online inmate search tool that can be used to locate offenders serving time in one of the state incarceration facilities and also a victim notification program (VNP) that provides information to individuals whose victimizers have been remade to police or judicial custody.