CHESTER, IL – Staff at Menard Correctional Center is preparing for a flood that could have an impact on the facility. The National Weather service predicts the Mississippi River, along Kaskaskia Street, in Menard will crest at a high of 49.7 feet, which matches the levels recorded in the great floods of 1993. At that level, there may be minor flooding inside the lower level cell houses and basements of buildings located behind the walls.
Some offenders have been transferred to other facilities and IDOC is providing temporary, alternate housing for others, inside the facility. At this time, IDOC does not anticipate water being shut off however, the Department has more than one thousand gallons of water on standby and has set up portable restrooms should there be an issue with sewage.
“Our staff has worked tirelessly to implement strategic plans and ensure the safety of the institution is not compromised,” says Acting IDOC Director John Baldwin. “Staff at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois State Police, and the City of Chester have also provided hundreds of hours of manpower to help us prepare for this flood.”
IDOC offender work crews also pitched in. They filled more than 15-thousand sandbags, which have been placed around the facility to protect power sources, buildings, and generators.
“We didn’t have much time to prepare for this flood but our team worked around the clock to prepare for high waters,” says Kimberly Butler, warden at Menard Correctional Center. “We have also had a tremendous response from the community. Local farmers and many others stepped up to donate their time and equipment to make these efforts seamless. We are extremely appreciative of their help.”
The Mississippi River is expected to crest on Saturday, January 1st.