Livingston County Sheriff wants to use Dwight prison for county inmates

Jun 14, 2013

The Livingston County Sheriff hopes to convince state and local officials to re-open a portion of the closed Dwight prison for housing county inmates.

Marty Meredith’s plan would mean housing up to 300 prisoners from the federal prison system, Cook County, and elsewhere, and hiring around 40 people with prior correctional experience.

The maximum-security women’s facility closed in March as part of a series of budget cuts made by Governor Pat Quinn.  Meredith says the move will require a roughly 1-million dollar investment from the county, but could generate up to 1-point-5 million.  He’s meeting with state officials next week, and expects to bring his plan before the Livingston County Board by July.

“But before I do that, I want to take it to the people – and let the people of Livinsgton County – let them make the decision.  I want to put something in the newspaper and even the Associated Press – let people know that - please, voice your opinions, because we want to do what’s best for Livingston County, and your voice does have a say here.”

Meredith says county inmates staying in the prison could anyone awaiting trial, and those sentenced for less than a year from neighboring counties.

Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer  says the agency is always looking for ways to preserve public safety, including the re-use of closed prison facilities.