Public comments open on Dwight prison –

It’s the people’s turn to speak.

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability is accepting public comments on the proposed closure of the Dwight Correctional Facility.

On Feb. 22, Gov. Pat Quinn proposed closing the 81-year-old facility to save $37.3 million annually. Earlier this week, an estimated 750 people attended a rally in Dwight showing their support for keeping open the state’s lone maximum-security prison for women.

The commission handles the facility closure process and is in charge of making an advisory opinion to the administration. Those public comments and requests for public testimony will continue for the next several weeks until a formal hearing is scheduled. That should be some time in May, just as the General Assembly begins budget talks.

Anyone interested in speaking at the hearing or sending written commentary can email

Per the Facility Closure Act, CoGFA submitted its request March 1 to the Department of Corrections to seek a formal closure recommendation. Now, the DOC must submit a recommendation by Saturday, March 31, including the number of employees at Dwight, the locations where functions and employees will be moved, the ability to accommodate those moves, the cost of operations at both facilities and the economic impact on Dwight, among others.

“This process will continue, but at the same time, we recognize this allows the public or anyone else who is concerned about Dwight Correctional Center to submit their input,” said state Sen. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga, on Thursday. “In terms of the actual facility closure process, right now is a time where things are dormant until we have an impact study and a date for the commission hearing.”

The Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council commissioned an economic impact study and found the closure could mean a loss of an estimated $44 million to the Dwight area.

Of the prison’s 359 employees, 142 are from Livingston County, 59 of those from Dwight, 76 from Kankakee County, 60 from La Salle County — with 44 of those from Streator — 21 from Grundy County and 19 from Cook County.

According to the study, as many as 375 indirect jobs also could be lost due to the closure.

Public comments can be viewed at “” after clicking the Facility Closures tab, then Dwight Correctional Center. A copy of the public notice and recommendation requested by CoGFA also are posted on the website.

Dwight is one of four facilities listed on the request, along with Tamms Correctional Center, Peoria Adult Transition Center and Westside Adult Transition Center in Chicago.

via Public comments open on Dwight prison –