Financial Aid, Prison Site Linked Towns Seeking Facility Should Give State Incentives, Illinois Official Says

Article excerpt

Communities hoping to land a new super-maximum security prison can help their chances by offering the state financial help and showing plenty of enthusiasm, the state prisons director said Monday.

"Certainly the extent to which a community offers incentives and inducements will come into play," Corrections Department Director Howard Peters said. "We want the best arrangement for the taxpayers of Illinois."

Cities and counties discussed the proposals for the 500-bed prison in a series of meetings Monday with Howard and other prison officials.

Some promised to pay for the land and improvements needed to build the prison, while others said they can't afford to help. Most stressed their need for jobs and the amenities their areas can offer prison employees.

Peters said a host of factors will determine the prison site: economic development, hospitals, availability of rental property, colleges, technical aspects of the proposed sites.

But the financial packages and the communities' eagerness to get the prison will play the biggest role, he said.

Communities submitted detailed proposals in writing, so the meetings provided little beyond general description of the towns. Prison officials are withholding the applications from the public until a site is chosen.

Most of the local officials said their communities overwhelmingly support the prison. But a few acknowledged that their communities are concerned about inmates' families visiting and creating crime. …