Several of the Illinois General Assembly's newest members got a firsthand look at one of the state's correctional facilities as part of tour hosted by state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington.
"The Pontiac correctional facility is an important part of our state's corrections system and a major economic driver for the region," Barickman said in a news release. "I believe it is crucial to allow our newer representatives and senators to see how it works and it what it means."
The maximum security prison was first opened as a boys reformatory in 1861. Today the facility houses inmates in segregation status and those in protective custody, as well as housing the state's most serious offenders, according to a news release from Barickman's office.
The tour allowed lawmakers to see how the facility functions, including the housing, food and activity centers for prisoners. In addition, they were given an update on the ongoing process of updating facilities and procedures aimed at improving mental health treatment for the inmates, which includes a new mental health treatment center. Lawmakers also toured the new kitchen and cafeterias, which are still under construction.
Every two years, Barickman hosts the tour, which is open to all lawmakers from both chambers and parties who were not serving in the General Assembly during the previous tour.
Barickman, a graduate of Woodland High School in rural Streator, represents the 53rd District, which includes Livingston County.