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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.
Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The union representing Illinois correctional workers is demanding a stop to what it says is the transfer of violent maximum-security prison inmates to less-secure lockups.

The letter sent Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press was addressed to Department of Corrections Director S.A. "Tony" Godinez (goh-DEE'-nez).

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says in one instance up to 15 inmates were being moved to medium-security prisons. The inmates allegedly beat two guards and a chaplain at Menard prison last week.

The union is worried increased violence has ushered a return of "circuit riders" - keeping troublemakers isolated by moving them from prison to prison.

The 1998 opening of the high-security Tamms prison ended that practice. But Gov. Pat Quinn closed Tamms in January because of budget cuts.
Published in Local News

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