Progress in Dwight Prison Re-Use Plan
By Jeff Bossert
Officials in Livingston County could vote as soon as next month to reuse a portion of the shuttered Dwight Correctional Center.
County Board members and state officials with Central Management Services toured a newer portion of the former women’s prison last week.
County Sheriff Marty Meredith wants to use the ‘X House’ to house about 300 federal inmates, and those from neighboring counties with overflow.
Meredith says it will cost more than 1-million dollars up front to hire about 40 employees. But he expects to make it up quickly and then some, charging counties $50 a day for housing inmates, along with medical care.
“It’s almost the time for me to make sure that I’m double-checking my math, double-checking everything to make sure that this is exactly where I need to be at," he said. "So when I present to them there’s no question in any of their minds so they can tell their constituents that they voted with all confidence."
Also on the tour last Thursday was Livingston County Board Chair Marty Fannin, and State Representative Josh Harms (R-Watseka.)
"I'll support whatever the county wants,” said Harms, who, along with Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), put Meredith in touch with Central Management Services, who now controls the former prison.
The prison's X House, which was used for prisoner intake, is about 15 years old.
The prison itself opened in the 1930s. Governor Pat Quinn closed the Dwight Correctional Center in March as part of a series of budget cuts.
Meredith says CMS is fully behind the idea. No date has been set for a vote by the Livingston County Board.