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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A prison watchdog says the need for inmate space in Illinois is "trumping security" as officials announced they plan to set up temporary bed space in a half-dozen mostly medium-security prisons.

The change was announced yesterday in a letter from the Department of Corrections to the main employee union.

John Maki of the prison observer John Howard Association says the six prisons targeted - in Centralia, Danville, Hillsboro, Canton, Vienna and Vandalia - are among the state's most crowded.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says the planned closure of the Dwight prison is forcing the move.

Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano says prison gymnasiums will be used temporarily for minimum-security inmates. She would not comment specifically on the reason for the move.
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