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Casting Off The Shackles

By Erin in News on Aug 15, 2006 5:24PM

Before NASCAR, casinos and a minor league baseball team made it the bastion of entertainment that it is today, Joliet, Ill. was known for one thing, and one thing only: CRIME. If Joliet 2006_08_joliet.jpgwasn't providing you avenues to actively participate in it, it certainly was providing you with the necessary housing for when you got caught.

That's why it's amusing to Chicagoist to learn that the city of our birth is - sort of - a prison town no more, thanks to the departure of the violent sex offenders who formerly called the annex at the Joliet Correctional Center home. Since the building - made famous by both the "Blues Brothers" and "Natural Born Killers" movies, not to mention the "Prison Break" TV show on FOX - was constructed more than 150 years ago, it's housed adult felons within its limestone walls. Now, city officials are looking to turn it into an Alcatraz-like tourist attraction, according to

The article clarifies what we've always known - that Stateville Correctional Center, the prison most closely associated with Joliet in people's minds, is actually in neighboring Crest Hill, Ill., and it's not going anywhere. Plus, there are about about 290 boys at the maximum-security Illinois Youth Center on the west side, which, we'd like to point out, is surrounded by long stretches of barbed-wire fencing, and is so intimidating to look at, it does nothing to dispel the idea that Joliet's ready to give up its prison roots.

Chicagoist always is quick to say that Joliet is a nice place to be from, and we stand by that statement. Despite a ride in a paddy wagon a time or two, we're no worse for the wear having come out of the City of Champions, and neither are our fellow Joliet natives, though Lionel really should have thought about raising Nicole in J-town. She would have turned out, at the very least, with some junk in her trunk like the rest of us.