Covering 96 acres, the Cook County Department of Corrections, located in Illinois, is one of the largest single site county pre-detention facilities in the United States. It covers more than eight city blocks and is composed of 10 divisions. Another fact about the facility is it has an average daily detainee population of about 9,000. It admits about 100,000 detainees per year.
The complex has a health services facility, two departments of education, a food service area, commissary and four sheriff’s departments. Each individual division has its own dispensary, visiting area, chapel, law library, staff office and day room.
Construction on the original jail began in 1928, with the adjoining criminal courthouse completed soon after. In 1969, the Cook County Department of Corrections was formally created via statute. This was primarily in response to overcrowding, which has remained a problem through the history of the facility.
The Cook County Department of Corrections has held a number of infamous criminals over the years, including Al Capone, Frank Nitti, John Wayne Gacy and the Chicago Seven. An electric chair was used for 67 executions at the facility between 1928 to 1962. The facility has been featured in a number of films including "Chicago" and "The Blues Brothers" as well as television series such as "Chicago Fire."