Springfield…In November of 2015, State Representative Terri Bryant joined correctional officers from the Illinois Department of Corrections for a press conference to announce that she had introduced legislation to reopen and repurpose the shuttered Murphysboro correctional facility. Two years and five months later, 20 inmates have been transferred in to the newly reopened Murphysboro Reentry Center.
“This is a big win for Southern Illinois and for the safety of the staff and inmates at Correctional centers across Illinois,” Bryant said. “It has taken a lot of effort, pushing and prodding, and a lot of cooperation between state agencies and all the players involved to get this done. I am proud to be a Murphysboro resident, and I am proud to have fought to reopen this facility to help with prison overcrowding and to help reduce recidivism in our prisons. The facility is expected to support 100 permanent good-paying jobs for residents living in the region.”
Bryant says the re-entry program will be open to minimum security offenders who are 40 years old or younger, and with one to three years left in their sentence.
“If we put someone back on the street again with no skills, no money, no support system, they are likely to reoffend and return to prison,” Bryant said. “We cannot afford to support this revolving door any longer. We can’t just keep cycling people through the correctional system. It simply costs too much money. The goal of the re-entry program is to ensure that each inmate that leaves the facility has necessary life skills they will need to get a job and be a productive member of society when they return to the outside.”
The Murphysboro facility is one of three Life-Skills Re-entry Centers slated to open in Illinois, as part of Governor Rauner’s plan to safely reduce the prison population and restructure the state’s criminal justice system. The first Life-Skills Re-entry Center opened in Kewanee, Illinois in February of 2017. The Department is working to launch another Life Skills Reentry Center for females at Logan Correctional Center. Offenders who have one to four years left on their sentence qualify for placement at the Life Skills Re-entry Centers.