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April 20, 2001

Ryan Releases $4 Million in Illinois FIRST Funds for New Kankakee County Jail

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that he is releasing $4.185 million in Illinois FIRST funds to Kankakee County to construct a new county jail. The jail will be built next to the Kankakee Airport, a site that will impact the fewest residents in the county and allow for future growth.

"It's time for a new jail in Kankakee County," Ryan said. "The new jail will help eliminate overcrowding and increase safety for the staff and for the prisoners."

The $4.185 million is the first installment of as much as $20 million in Illinois FIRST funding pledged by Ryan for the jail. The grant money will pay for planning, engineering and site preparation, including the construction and extension of sewer and water lines. The new water and sewer system will enable homes, businesses, and other facilities to connect to the water supply, helping to eliminate their dependence on septic systems.

The current Kankakee County Jail opened in 1973 and was built in downtown Kankakee to house 106 inmates. The number of inmates has doubled over the years, creating overcrowded and unsafe conditions. The facility does not meet federal or state minimum requirements and has been cited by the Illinois Attorney General numerous times for overcrowding and inadequate design.

"This new jail will serve us well for years to come," Ryan said. "It will help make Kankakee County a safer place for all of us to live."

Preliminary plans for the new county jail include room to house 320 inmates. No date has been set for the construction and completion of the project.


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