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Pontiac- Several of the Illinois General Assembly’s newest members were able to get a firsthand look at one of the state’s most important correctional facilities, as part of tour hosted by State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
“The Pontiac Correctional Facility is an important part of our state’s corrections system and a major economic driver for the region,” said Barickman. “I believe it is crucial to allow our newer Representatives and Senators to see how it works and it what it means.”
The Pontiac Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison, was first opened as a boys reformatory in 1861. Today the facility houses inmates in segregation status, those in protective custody, as well as housing the state’s most serious offenders.
The tour allowed lawmakers to see how the facility functions, including the housing, food, and activity centers for prisoners. In addition, they were given an update on the ongoing process of updating facilities and procedures aimed at improving mental health treatment for the inmates, which included a new mental health treatment center. They also toured the new kitchen and cafeterias which are still under construction.
“I do not envy the task given to the Pontiac administration and corrections officers to manage such a diverse and possibly difficult prison population, but I have been impressed with their efforts,” said Barickman. “I’m hopeful that my colleagues in the General Assembly left here with a newfound respect for the importance of this facility, and that challenges the staff face on a daily basis.”
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.