Stateville Correctional Center

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

Sunrise over Stateville


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.The prison was duplicated in Cuba in 1936, but has since been abandoned.[3] [4]

Execution site[edit]

The Stateville Correctional Center was one of three sites in which executions were carried out by electrocution in Illinois. Between 1928 and 1962, the electric chair was used 13 times at Stateville, including the state's first electrocutions on December 15, 1928 of three convicted murderers.[5]

The state's other electrocutions were carried out at the Menard Correctional Center in Chester and at the Cook County Jail in Chicago.

When the method was changed to lethal injection, Stateville was the only site where executions were carried out until 1998 when death row was relocated to the Tamms Correctional Center in Tamms, Illinois.[citation needed]

In March 2011 Governor Pat Quinn signed into law legislation ending the death penalty in the state of Illinois.

Current use[edit]

Today the prison holds an average of over 3,500, at an annual cost of over $32,000 per prisoner.[6]

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.

Stateville is located two miles (3 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, across the Illinois and Michigan Canal.

Notable Inmates[edit]

  • William Balfour - Murdered singer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother, and nephew. Sentenced to three life sentences plus 120 years.

- Richard Speck. Convicted April 15th, 1957 of murdering eight women.

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.[7] See main article, Stateville Penitentiary Malaria Study.
  • Stateville is where Leopold and Loeb were incarcerated. Stateville was also where Richard Speck was housed, and where the infamous Speck videotapes were shot. Before Tamms Correctional Center was opened, executions were performed at Stateville.
  • 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 definitely in the main scenes.
  • John Wayne Gacy was executed at Stateville.
  • 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]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°34′44″N 88°05′39″W / 41.578768°N 88.094087°W / 41.578768; -88.094087