JOLIET – The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is gearing up to build a 200-bed mental health and medical correctional inpatient facility. This facility will provide the most intensive level of care for offenders who struggle with mental illness and to those who require long-term skilled nursing care.

The 180,000-square foot facility will be located in Joliet, Illinois, on the same grounds as the existing Joliet Treatment Center. It’s the largest building construction project to be launched under Governor Bruce Rauner, who’s made criminal justice reform a priority during his administration.

“Mental illness is a serious public health issue that impacts families across our state,” said Gov. Bruce Rauner. “We’re working every day to make sure people have access to the treatment they need to cope and be whole. And, we’re making sure our correctional staff has the training they need to better understand mental illness, recognize when someone is in distress, and diffuse the situation in a positive way. This new facility will only enhance our efforts and lead to more productive outcomes.”

This $150 million Inpatient Treatment Center will provide services to both male and female offenders with a maximum patient capacity of just over 200. More than 400 people will work at the facility including physicians, nurse practitioners, and licensed psychologists.

“The state-of-the-art facility will serve as a national model for mental health treatment in corrections,” said IDOC Director John Baldwin. “An increasing number of individuals with mental illness are being sentenced to us, and we must provide the highest level of comprehensive care possible to ensure their success.”

The IDOC has partnered with the state’s Capital Development Board (CDB) to get the project off the ground. The CDB has already secured the services of two architectural and engineering firms - Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK) and Pulitzer/Bogard & Associates, LLC, to complete a programming analysis and preliminary design of the facility.

Now, CDB is looking for a Design-Build Team that will complete the remaining design and lead construction of the facility, which will also include a new administration building and utility plant. CDB posted a request-for-proposal on the project earlier this month and is accepting proposals through August 29. The IDOC anticipates breaking ground on the new facility in the spring of 2019.

“This is an excellent example of state agencies working together with talented consultants for an important cause,” said CDB Director Jeff Heck. “The project team has developed a vision for what will be a world-class facility to help DOC achieve its mission of enhancing mental health care for those in custody. Thanks to our ability to use the design-build project delivery method, we’ll save a significant amount of time when it comes to completing the project.”

This new Inpatient Treatment Center will ensure the IDOC meets its obligation to provide inpatient beds and programming space for seriously mentally ill offenders, as outlined in the Rasho v Baldwin settlement agreement. As part of the agreement, the IDOC has opened Joliet Treatment Center, Elgin Treatment Center, and residential treatment units at Logan, Pontiac and Dixon Correctional Centers. In addition, IDOC has increased programming for offenders on the mental health caseload, hired hundreds of additional staff, and implemented staff training on crisis intervention, effective communication, de-escalation techniques, mental health first aid, staff wellness, and more.

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