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Illinois Department of Corrections
Randolph County - State Prison - Illinois
Menard Correctional Center

Status: Active, opened in March 1868

Location: Chester/Menard Illinois

Address: 717 Kaskaskia Street, Menard, Illinois 62259

Mailing Address:

717 Kaskaskia Street
P.O. Box 711
Menard, IL 62259

Phone Number: 618-826-5071; inmates cannot receive phone calls

Fax Number: 618-826-1141; inmates cannot receive faxes

Offender Gender: Male

Security Level: Maximum, Medium, and intake processing

Warden: Kim Butler

Number of Guards: Approximately 850

Distinguishing Feature:  Many people may recognized Menard Correctional Center because of the 1993 Harrison Ford movie, The Fugitive; Menard is the prison where Ford’s character is sent to await his execution. 

Menard Correctional Center is Illinois’ second-oldest prison and its oldest maximum security institution.    

Menard Correctional Center has maximum security inmates and a satellite facility for minimum security inmates.  It houses some of the most dangerous inmates in the state of Illinois, including inmates that were formerly on death-row prior to being granted clemency.  The combination of this dangerous population and prison overcrowding has given Menard a reputation as a dangerous prison.  It also serves as a processing or intake center for the Illinois Department of Corrections, which


The living conditions at Menard Correctional Center are notoriously bad, mainly because of the prison’s serious overcrowding problem.  The overcrowded conditions have led to problems with sanitation, pests, and prison violence.  Inmates are inadequately supervised, which means that inmate assaults, including serious assaults and murders, are a possibility. 

            The prison is a huge facility with 155 buildings spread out over a number of acres.  Much of the prison land is outside of the fenced perimeter and is used as farm land to support the prison, while the 41 acres that is inside the perimeter fence is used primarily for inmate housing and administrative buildings. 

Menard Correctional Center has a number of different prison programs that are either geared towards rehabilitating criminals or simply easing the transition from prison into the free world.  The education programs at Menard Correctional Center include: adult basic education (ABE), general education development (GED), job preparedness and correspondence classes, and special education services for inmates who qualify for those services.   The prison also offers vocational and technical training for inmates in the following fields: construction, meat processing, janitorial, cleaning supplies, knitting, sewing, waste removal, and recycling.  Inmates may attend religious services, with Christian and Muslim religious services the most prevalent in the facility.  Inmates can also participate in self-help or behavioral modification programs including: anger management, chaplaincy, community work crews, library, life skills, substance abuse treatment programs, and the incarcerated veterans transition program.  Identified inmates may participate in the sex offender program.  Inmates with health care concerns are eligible for health care services.  

The Menard Correctional Center encourages inmates to work and engages in production through its vocational/technical programs, community work service programs, and agricultural production.  One significant source of prisoner production is inmate-involved construction, both on and off of prison-owned property.  The prison also operates a quarry, a brick manufacturing facility, and a machine shop.

Originally known as the Southern Illinois Penitentiary, one of the most remarkable features of the Menard Correctional Center is that is does not appear to be a prison, at least when one first enters the facility.  It features columns, the scales of justice, and stone lions, which have given it an appearance more like a university than a prison facility.  This is partly due to the time when it was built, when a more ornate architectural style was in fashion.  The prison initially had a rock quarry, which was mined using inmate labor.  The original inmates were placed two-to-a-cell and their cells had no plumbing; inmates used buckets instead.  The prison was plagued by overcrowding as early as the 1920s, which led to the building of additional cages net to the cell house corridors and the conversion of prison yard buildings into dormitories.  Expansion and renovation continued throughout the 20th century.  Currently, the prison is more than 2,600 acres, with 41 acres contained within perimeter fencing.  The prison has 155 buildings.  The prison consists of a maximum security facility and encompasses a medium security facility, as well. 

            In 1973, Menard was the site of one of the country’s most serious prison riots, which resulted in the prisoners actually taking over the prison for a short period of time.  In 1974, prisoners were able to repeat the process and take over the prison again.  In 1994, Menard was sued by an inmate who wanted the prison held liable because he contracted AIDS while an inmate after being raped by his fellow prisoners.  The prison and guards were not held liable.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the prison’s history is its relationship to the death penalty in the state of Illinois.  Menard once housed Illinois’ death row inmates.  It still houses some of those same inmates, but they are no longer on death row; they were all granted clemency by the governor of Illinois and Illinois is no longer considered a death-penalty state. 

 Menard Correctional Center has been home to a number of inmates who are infamous throughout the state of Illinois and some inmates who are known throughout the country.  These inmates include, but are not limited to: serial killer Hubert Geralds; serial killer John Wayne Gacy; serial killer and serial rapist Robert Ben Rhoades; and former police officer Drew Peterson who was convicted of the murder of his wife.

Inmate Mailing Address:    

Inmate Name, IDOC Number
P.O. Box 1000
Menard, IL 62259

Locate an Inmate 

Visit an Inmate   

Visitation Hours:

General Population (non-contact)
Sunday - Friday 8:00am - 2:00pm
Offenders allowed 5 contact visits per month

Segregation / Administrative (non-contact)
Monday - Sunday 8:00am - 2:00pm
Administrative allowed non-contact visits

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Receive Calls from an Inmate

Email an Inmate  Menard is participating in a pilot program that will allow an electronic messaging service for communication between prisoners and the approved people on their lists, but inmates do not have access to traditional email or to the internet.


Year Built or Opened: 1868 Warden or Supervisor: Warden Kim Butler Daily Inmate Count: 3,695 Total Capacity: 3,861 Security Level(s): medium - maximum

717 Kaskaskia Street
P.O. Box 711
Menard, IL 62259

Phone Number(s): 618-826-5071
Fax Number: (618) 826-1141

717 Kaskaskia Street
Menard, Illinois 62259

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