Photos Show New Cook County Correctional Center in Chicago-Fiction!

Photos Show New Cook County Correctional Center in Chicago-Fiction!

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Summary of eRumor:
Photos claim to show the stunning new Cook County Correctional Center in Chicago that was built by President Obama.
The Truth:
These photos don’t show the Cook County Correctional Center in Chicago.
The rumor started back in 2008, shortly after President Obama was inaugurated. A forwarded email displayed four photos of stunning buildings and grounds and falsely claimed that it was the new Cook County Correctional Center.
This photo actually does show a prison and judicial center, but it’s not located in the United States. Built in Styria Austria in 2004, Justice Center Leoben holds about 200 inmates:


The New York Times published a story about “five star prisons” in 2009 that explored the idea of using architectural concepts at prisons in Europe to inspire change in inmates. The article even mentions how Leoben has been misidentified in emails as the new Cook County Correctional Center:

Leoben has received quite a lot of attention. In America, its public profile has been limited to a series of get-a-load-of-this e-mail messages and mocking blog posts (where the prison is often misidentified as a corrections center outside Chicago), but in Europe, Hohensinn’s design has become more of a model — not universally accepted, but not easily ignored either. It is the opening statement in a debate about what it means to construct a better prison. Already there are plans to build something like it outside of Berlin.

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It’s not clear how or why these photos were misidentified in the viral emails. But rest assured that the Cook County Jail looks like, well, a jail:

This rumor has been circulating for years, but there’s no truth to it at all.