Groundbreaking on prison mental health center set for Monday

JOLIET, Ill. -Illinois officials are planning a groundbreaking ceremony for a 200-bed hospital to treat mentally ill prison inmates.

The ceremony hosted by the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Capital Development Board will be Monday in Joliet.

The Corrections Department settled a 2016 lawsuit requiring the state to provide adequate services to about 12,000 inmates who suffer from mental illness. The lawsuit was filed in 2007 after severe funding cuts.

The $150 million center will be 180,000 square feet (16,700 square meters) and serve both men and women. It will employ more than 400 people including physicians, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and correctional treatment officers.

Organizers also expect state legislators, Joliet city leaders, and representatives of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 to attend the ceremony.

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