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Hoax – Obama’s Cook County Correctional Center

by Brett M. Christensen


Message that features a series of photographs depicting a luxuriously appointed prison claims that the pictures show the Cook County Correctional Center in Chicago, Illinois, a project brought to fruition by Barack Obama. 

Brief Analysis

The photographs are genuine and they do depict a prison. However, the prison is located in Austria, not the United States as claimed in the message and it was built back in 2005. And, the project has no connection whatsoever to Barack Obama. There is no Cook County prison facility like the one shown in these photographs. The same images have circulated in entirely different contexts for several years.


Subject: Guess what this is. (Sit down when you find out!!)?

Can you figure it out on the first photo or second or third or, do you have to wait till the fourth? It may take a while for it to sink in . .

New Prison 1

New Prison 2

New Prison 3

New Prison 4

New prison 5

New Prison 7

New Prison 7

New Prison 8

New prison 9

IT IS . . .
The New Cook County Correctional Center in Chicago , Illinois 

New Prison 10

And yeah, they can also choose from the menu.

Who was the US Senator who helped arrange the funds to build this beautiful “punishment center”?

Yes, it was Senator Obama!

No wonder he sees nothing wrong with the wasted spending in his “Stimulus Plan”. This is where the Administration plans on putting the terrorists from Gitmo, and we have Americans living in cardboard boxes on the streets that have never killed anyone. Nothing makes sense anymore.

How ‘s that compare with “Sheriff Joe ‘s” prison in Arizona?




Detailed Analysis

This widely circulated message claims that attached photographs of a sleek modern building depict a new prison located in the United States. The message features images of the building’s exterior as well as showing the high-quality accommodation and sporting facilities inside. According to the message, the facility in the photographs is the Cook County Correctional Center located in Chicago, Illinois. The message claims that funding to build the – obviously expensive – facility was arranged by Barack Obama. The message decries this apparent waste of funds and also claims that there are plans to move terrorists previously incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay to the new prison. 
The photographs are genuine and they do indeed depict a prison. But the description that comes with the photographs is nonsense.

In fact, the prison is located in the European nation of Austria, not the United States as claimed in the message.

The photographs show the Justice and Detention Centre in Leoben, Austria. The building was completed in 2005 and comprises court facilities as well as a penitentiary.  Modern architecture website MIMOA notes:

Architect Josef Hohensinn did not find it all that far-fetched to take home comfort into consideration in his penitentiary design for the new Justice and Detention Centre in Leoben. Façades, layout of spaces, art concept – everything meets the highest Austrian standards.

“Lucky” Austrian prisoners enjoy not only clean and modern accommodation but can also move freely among their cells and the communal spaces in their designated areas. There are also outdoor courtyards where inmates can walk and sit in the fresh air

Quite obviously, Barack Obama had no involvement whatsoever in the funding or construction of this or any other Austrian prison project.

There is no “new” correctional center in Cook County that even remotely resembles the facility shown in the above images. The real Cook County Jail is an institution far more functional and foreboding than the attractive center shown in the above images.

The very same set of pictures has circulated in other contexts since at least 2008. An earlier Hoax-Slayer article discusses another version of the message that falsely claimed that the prison was located in the United Kingdom.

Thus, it seems clear that someone with an axe to grind has simply taken a set of pictures and made up a story to go with them in a rather lame attempt to discredit Barack Obama. Spreading obvious lies about a political leader – regardless of your opinions about his or her ability or lack thereof – is likely to be entirely counterproductive to your cause and could greatly damage your credibility.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,