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Stateville Correctional Center

Coordinates: 41°34′43″N 88°05′40″W / 41.57861°N 88.09444°W / 41.57861; -88.09444
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41°34′43″N 88°05′40″W / 41.57861°N 88.09444°W / 41.57861; -88.09444

Stateville Correctional Center
Location16830 Route 53
Crest Hill, Illinois, U.S.
Security classMaximum
Managed byIllinois Department of Corrections

Stateville Correctional Center (SCC) is a maximum security state prison for men in Crest Hill, Illinois, United States, near Chicago.[1][2] It is a part of the Illinois Department of Corrections.


Opened in 1925, Stateville was built to accommodate 1,506 inmates. Parts of the prison were designed according to the panopticon concept proposed by the British philosopher and prison reformer, Jeremy Bentham. Stateville's "F-House" cellhouse, commonly known as a "roundhouse", has a panopticon layout which features an armed tower in the center of an open area surrounded by several tiers of cells. F-House was the only remaining "roundhouse" still in use in the United States in the 1990s. It was closed in late 2016 but the structure will remain standing due to its historical significance.[3] A duplicate of the prison, the Presidio Modelo, opened in Cuba in 1936, but has since been abandoned.[4][5]

In 2009 a 40-year-old man from Chicago, Richard Conner, murdered a 37-year-old Will County man named Jameson Leezer, who had originated from Lisle and Bolingbrook. Both were inmates placed in the same solitary confinement cell together. The killing made the state of Illinois change its rules in housing two prisoners together during solitary confinement; the prison authorities now must take into account both inmates' histories of violence.[6]

Execution site[edit]

Stateville Correctional Center was one of three sites in which executions were carried out by electrocution in Illinois. The electric chair was first used at Stateville in 1949. Prior to that the electric chair was housed at the Joliet Correctional Center.[7] The state's other electrocutions were carried out at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester and at the Cook County Jail in Chicago.

In July 1977, capital punishment was reinstated in Illinois. On September 8, 1983, the state adopted lethal injection as the default method of execution in Illinois, but the electric chair remained operational to replace lethal injection if needed. Eleven executions were carried out by lethal injection at the Stateville Correctional Center between September 1990 and January 1998. In March 1998, the site of executions was moved 305 miles (491 km) southwest to the Tamms Correctional Center in Tamms, Illinois.[8]

On March 9, 2011, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation ending capital punishment in the state of Illinois.[9]

Current use[edit]

Today the prison holds an average of over 3,500, at an annual cost of over $32,000 per prisoner.[10]

Stateville's 1,300 employees make it a Level 1 facility; the highest of eight security level designations. There is also a minimum security unit commonly referred to as the Stateville Farm, which is a Level 7 facility, located within the new Northern Reception Center, located just south of the main facility. The Northern Reception Center (NRC), accepts incoming prisoners from the county jails in the northern two-thirds of the state.[citation needed]

Stateville is located 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Joliet, Illinois (16830 IL Route 53 Crest Hill, IL 60403; (815) 727-3607), on a site of over 2,200 acres (8.9 km2), of which 64 acres (26 ha) are surrounded by a 33-foot (10 m) concrete perimeter with 10 wall towers. Stateville is often confused with the former Joliet Correctional Center, which closed in 2002. Located in the nearby city of Joliet, the former Joliet Prison is much older and smaller. It is located about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) southeast of Stateville on the corner of Woodruff Rd. and Collins St., across the Illinois and Michigan Canal.

Replacement plans[edit]

In May 2021, the Illinois Department of Corrections called for Stateville to be converted from a Level 1 maximum security facility to a multi-level facility focused on returning inmates to society. In March 2024, the State announced plans to temporarily close the prison, demolish it, and construct a new facility on the grounds.[11]

Notable inmates[edit]

  • Michael Alfonso – Rapist and murderer, featured on America's Most Wanted, I (Almost) Got Away with It and Unsolved Mysteries when he was listed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
  • Basil Banghart – Convicted of the hoax kidnapping of John Factor, served 20 years before being declared innocent and freed.
  • Floyd Cummings – Served 12 years for murder and later became a noted professional boxer, tying in a fight with Joe Frazier.
  • James Degorski and Juan Luna – the perpetrators of the Brown's Chicken massacre.
  • James Files – Sentenced to 50 years for the attempted murder of two policemen, originally at Stateville before being transferred to Danville Correctional Center. Later made false claims of being involved in the assassination of President John Kennedy.
  • Jordan Hill – One of the four participants in the 2017 Chicago Torture Incident of a mentally disabled man that was captured on Facebook live.[12]
  • William Heirens – Convicted of three murders in 1946, referred to in media as The Lipstick Killer. Transferred to Vienna Correctional Center in 1975 and later Dixon Correctional Center.
  • Larry Hoover – Founder of the Gangster Disciples street gang. Transferred to ADX Florence in 1997.
  • Mose Jefferson – Convicted of robbery and served 9 months in 1967. Later became a field lieutenant in the Illinois Democratic Party and in 2009 was convicted of bribery in New Orleans.
  • Nathan Leopold – Transferred from Joliet. Half of the infamous 1924 Leopold and Loeb case. Founded the Stateville Correspondence School with Richard Loeb.
  • Richard Loeb – Transferred from Joliet and killed by another inmate. Other half of the infamous 1924 Leopold and Loeb case. Founded the Stateville Correspondence School with Nathan Leopold.
  • Paul Modrowski – Convicted February 17, 1995 of first degree murder of Dean Fawcett.
  • Richard Speck – Convicted April 15, 1967 of murdering eight women.
  • Edward Spreitzer – Convicted April 2, 1984 for his participation in the murders of an estimated 18 women at the hands of a satanic cult known as the Chicago Ripper Crew. He was formally given the death penalty on March 20, 1986. Governor George Ryan granted him clemency in 2003. After 17 years on death row, his sentence was reduced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
  • Roger Touhy – Mob boss and bootlegger.
  • Amos Yee – Singaporean blogger imprisoned for child pornography charges.
  • Cory Gregory - one of the murderers of Adrianne Reynolds.


  • Charles Walker – Double murderer who was executed in 1990 after waiving his appeals. He became the first person to be executed in Illinois since 1962.
  • John Wayne Gacy – Serial killer and rapist convicted of the murders and rapes of 33 boys and young men in 1980. Transferred from the Menard Correctional Center to Stateville Correctional Center for execution by lethal injection on May 9, 1994, and declared dead at 12:58 a.m. the following morning. Gacy was the first person involuntarily executed in Illinois since 1962.[13]
  • Charles Albanese – Serial killer who poisoned three relatives with arsenic to obtain their inheritance. Executed in 1995.
  • Girvies Davis – Serial killer who killed at least four people during robberies. Executed in 1995. Davis's younger accomplice, Richard Holman, is serving a life sentence, avoiding execution since he was a month shy of turning 18.
  • Raymond Lee Stewart – Spree killer who killed six people. Executed in 1996.

Further information[edit]

  • In the 1940s through the 1960s, the US Army tested malaria vaccines on the prisoners, who in return received good time considerations.[14] See main article, Stateville Penitentiary Malaria Study.
  • A photograph of the interior of the F-House is used to demonstrate the concept of the panopticon in some editions of Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish.
  • MSNBC created a documentary about the Stateville Correctional Center: MSNBC Investigates Lockup.
  • The prison-riot footage and scenes of a prison warden rushing down a hallway in a herd of reporters in the 1994 film Natural Born Killers were filmed in vacant buildings at Stateville while most of the prison was still in use housing inmates. Actual inmates played extras during the riot scene with rubber knives and guns. After three weeks of shooting the inmates caused an actual riot and the remainder of the film was filmed elsewhere. The roundhouse was featured in the main scenes.
  • The characters on the ABC soap operas All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital and the CBS soap opera As the World Turns are occasionally sent to a fictional version of Stateville (called "Statesville") to serve prison time. Similarly, in the fictional TV and movie universe of Police Squad!, characters are regularly sentenced to the Statesville Prison.
  • The Stateville F-House is featured prominently in Call Northside 777 as the location where Frank Wiecek is held.
  • The F-House also appears briefly in Bad Boys (1983).
  • The fictional alleged assassin of George W. Bush in the dramatic mockumentary Death of a President is incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2010 CENSUS – CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Crest Hill city, IL." (Archive) U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on October 27, 2012.
  2. ^ "Stateville Correctional Center Archived August 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine." Illinois Department of Corrections. Retrieved on October 27, 2012. "Business Mail: 16830 So. Broadway St. P.O. Box 112 Joliet, IL 60434 "
  3. ^ Eldeib, Duaa. "Stateville's controversial 'roundhouse' prison area shuttered". chicagotribune.com.
  4. ^ Alexander (February 24, 2014). "Deserted Places: The abandoned 'Model Prison' of Cuba". desertedplaces.blogspot.com.
  5. ^ "Stateville Prison in Joliet, 1992". chicagohistory.org. Retrieved September 5, 2006. Includes photo of the roadhouse
  6. ^ Schmadeke, Steve (January 18, 2012). "Inmate sentenced in killing that changed how prison system houses nonviolent offenders". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  7. ^ "Inside the Big House: The Old Joliet Prison (1858-2002)".
  8. ^ "NEW STATE PRISON PUTS ALL INMATES IN SOLITARY". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  9. ^ "Illinois Abolishes the Death Penalty". NPR. March 9, 2011.
  10. ^ "IDOC". idoc.state.il.us.
  11. ^ Gorner, Jeremy; Pearson, Rick (March 15, 2024). "Gov. J.B. Pritzker announces plan to tear down, replace historic Stateville prison". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 10, 2024.
  12. ^ SMITH, KATIE. "Final defendant in Facebook live torture case pleads guilty". Shaw Local News Network.
  13. ^ Writers, Rob Karwath and Susan Kuczka, Tribune Staff. "GACY EXECUTION DELAY BLAMED ON CLOGGED IV TUBE". chicagotribune.com.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "Historian examines U.S. ethics in Nuremberg Medical Trial tactics, Andrew Ivy, a medical researcher and vice president of the University of Illinois at Chicago, testifies for the prosecution at the 1946 Nuremberg Medical Trial". Larry Bernard. Retrieved September 5, 2006.

External links[edit]