The first class of cadets to provide security at the newly re-purposed Murphysboro Life Skills Re-entry Center graduated Friday.
The 32 cadets will be ready to go when the facility - formerly known as the Illinois Youth Center - welcomes its first 240 inmates on April 16th.
Governor Bruce Rauner attended the ceremony. After, he said a similar facility opened in Kewanee last year and has a solid track record so far.
"There have already been 60 offenders who have left there and none has returned...zero recidivism. It's early, but hopefully we can keep that up and everyone who leaves here, hopefully, will not repeat offend, but be out and lead productive lives."
State Representative Terri Bryant of Murphysboro said her experience working at the Southern Illinois Adult Transition Center in Carbondale taught her you can't send an inmate back out into society without some type of help.
"This facility I think is going to fit into the mold of being able to take individuals that we're going to see again as our next door neighbors and someone that's going to have children who's going to go to school with our children and become to mold then back into successful citizens."
Inmates at the re-entry center will learn job-interviewing skills; how to manage bank accounts; technical skills and be provided proper identification.
The governor's staff said the Murphysboro facility will feature 63 officers when it is fully staffed.
Friday's graduation ceremony also featured 31 new correctional officers at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center.