The Will County Adult Detention Facility provides for the safe and humane detention of individuals awaiting trial, or serving criminal sentences up to one year.
The Will County Adult Facility has received accreditation status through the American Correctional Association, and the National Commission on Accreditation for Corrections.
By voluntarily complying with 385 nationally accepted standards for the operation of an adult local detention facility, Will County Sheriff's Office is able to maintain a balance between protecting the public and providing an environment that safeguards the life, health, and safety of both staff and inmates. A.C.A. Standards address inmate services, programs, and operations essential to effective correctional management. Less than 3% of the 3400 local jails nationwide have received this recognition.
The Will County Adult Detention facility originally opened its doors in March of 1989, has completed a $70 million dollar expansion of the facility in May of 2009. The original 156,000 square foot building was expanded to 318,000 square feet, adding 10 new housing units and increasing capacity of the jail from 322 inmates to over 1000 inmates. The facility is located in the downtown area of the county seat of Will County, which is Joliet Illinois. The facility is constructed in an architectural style called "podular". The podular architecture clusters inmate cells around a common day room, exercise area, and visitation room.
This architectural style is complimented by an inmate management style referred to as direct supervision. Direct Supervision requires that staff closely supervise inmates in the day room of a housing pod that allows staff direct unobstructed contact with the inmates. A staff member assigned the role supervises inmates in an environment that is best described as a " policeman walking a beat". The officer in the housing pod coordinates all pod activities, reinforcing inmates behavior by acting as a role model. In direct supervision jails positive behavior is rewarded by access to privileges such as access to outdoor exercise, television, and day room time. Inmates negative behavior is reinforced by the use of negative consequences for not following the rules. Consequences for inmates not abiding by the facility rules may range from short lock downs in their cells, and limiting access to pod activities to removal to a segregation unit where inmates are allowed out of their cells for only one and a half hours a day.
Inmates find out very quickly that following the rules is in their best interest, and that it is not in their best interest to break the rules. This concept of simple behavior modification has resulted in a facility that has fewer assaults by inmates on staff and other inmates, less stress on staff, and a safer environment for those that live and work in the Will County Adult Detention Facility.
The Will County Adult Detention Facility is a detention facility not a correctional facility thus rehabilitation is not a mandated function or goal, however; the philosophy of the facility is to encourage inmates to participate in programs that help them avoid re-incarceration. These programs are provided to facility inmates by The Center for Correctional Concerns ( C.C.C. ) a non-profit agency established in 1979 to provide social service and educational programs to inmates confined in the Will County Jail. These programs are funded through various sources that includes United Way.
The Social Service Department provides information, counseling, advocacy, and general assistance to inmates. They will make calls to public defenders and other agencies on behalf of the inmates. The Center for Correctional Concerns also provides a recreational library and performs other program related services for inmates confined at the Will County Adult Detention Facility.
The Center for Correctional Concerns offers an expanded G.E.D. program that allows inmates to obtain their high school equivalency diploma and improve their chances of securing a job upon their release. In the thirty years since the inception of the G.E.D. program in the old Will County Jail, and now at the Will County Adult Detention Facility over 1800 inmates have successfully completed the program and received their general equivalency degree. The facility also offers literacy training for nonreaders, English as a second language, and enrichment classes.
Current statistics from the United States Department of Justice estimates that up to 80 percent of inmates are involved with drugs or alcohol prior to their incarceration. In an effort to address this on going problem, The Will County Adult Detention Facility offers drug counseling, substance abuse classes, and recovery lessons.
The Will County Adult Detention Facility has both a full time chaplain and a part time chaplain to meet the varied spiritual needs of its inmates. These staff members are supplemented with volunteer clergy members from all denominations within the community. Inmates are provided with opportunities to attend weekly worship services and bible studies, and may also meet with the chaplains on an individual basis.
The Will County Adult Detention Facility's policy is to allow inmates every opportunity to maintain relations with family and friends while they are incarcerated. A liberal visitation schedule has been instituted to facilitate this. Most inmates are allowed two thirty minute visits each week. The inmate provides to the facility a list of those individuals that he or she wishes to visit.