By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
RUSHVILLE, Ill. – A detention facility in Rushville that handles sexually violent persons would get a $13 million expansion if companion legislation is approved in the Illinois General Assembly.
Work could begin within a month to relieve overcrowding at the facility operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services. The facility was designed to house 482 detainees and now has 507. The addition will create room for another 192 detainees.
Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, sponsored the legislation that cleared the way for the construction project. He said it will create jobs and once the addition is complete more jobs will be created for security personnel, counselors, cooks and others.
"A project like this will undoubtedly help the region's economy," Sullivan said.
The Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility is the only one of its kind in the state. It holds sexually violent detainees whose terms in the Department of Corrections have expired but who have a mental disorder that makes them a threat to public safety if released. State law requires that they be detained and receive treatment.
Sullivan's legislation allows the state to transfer and temporarily house the TDF residents in the Chester Mental Health Center.
The Chester Mental Health Center is the state's maximum-security mental health center. It houses criminal defendants who were found not guilty by reason of insanity or are mentally unfit to stand trial. The Chester facility was chosen because it can meet residents' care and security needs until construction is complete. While housed in the Chester Mental Health Center, the TDF residents will be segregated from the rest of the population. Once the Rushville construction project is completed, the detainees would be returned.
"During construction of the Rushville TDF we need to ensure the safety and treatment of residents and employees while at the same time protect the communities that house them," Sullivan said.