Illinois Public Media News




AP - Illinois Public Media News - August 17, 2012

State Continues Suspension of Prisoner Transfers

By The Associated Press

A southern Illinois judge has agreed to extend through the end of August a halt of inmate transfers from a supermax prison the governor looks to close.

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Illinois Public Radio - Illinois Public Media News - August 10, 2012

Former Inmates Not Surprised Quinn Keeping Reporters Out of Prisons

Story by Robert Wildeboer

Inmates recently released from prisons in Illinois say they're not surprised that Gov. Pat Quinn won't let reporters in to see conditions.

Chris Clingingsmith just completed seven years behind bars for driving drunk. He lost his wife, his house, his cars and his motorbike, but he’s glad he got caught when he did because he would have been in a much worse situation than he’s in now if he had stayed on the streets and hurt someone.

He said prison isn't supposed to be fun, but the Vandalia prison doesn’t meet even basic standards. He said he wouldn't even house a dog in the kind of conditions men are enduring in basements at the minimum security institution.

Chicago Public Radio has been asking to visit the prison for several months, but Gov. Pat Quinn has said no.

“They don't want you to see firsthand what we're telling you,” Clingingsmith said. “I have no reason to lie.  I'm not in there anymore so they can't do anything to me.  If you walked in there, I'm not going to exaggerate, you would probably just go wow, they actually house people in these areas.  You would be amazed.  You would think that's above and beyond punishment.”

Clingingsmith said a lot of the men housed at Vandalia are getting very mad. Clingingsmith said the lawmakers who oversee the prisons need to get to Vandalia so they know what’s going on.

Gov. Quinn said he wants to look into the conditions at some of Illinois' minimum-security prisons. A watchdog group and former inmates have reported deplorable conditions at the prisons in Vienna and Vandalia.

Those reports indicate some areas were overrun with rats and roaches, and men slept in rooms that flooded every time it rained. But despite repeated requests, Quinn says he won’t let reporters in to see the conditions firsthand.

"Yeah, well I don't believe in that. I think that it's important that -- when it comes to our security of our prisons, I go with the correctional office -- the director that I have at the Department of Corrections. Security comes first and it isn't a country club," Quinn said.

Quinn said he will look into the conditions, and would only say if reforms are needed. He wants to be sure they're done "properly."

Quinn is currently working on closing some prisons, but the union representing workers opposes those closures, saying overcrowding will get worse.

Illinois spends more than a billion dollars a year on prisons.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - August 09, 2012

Carjacking at U of I Parking Deck

University of Illinois Campus police report a carjacking Thursday morning, at a parking deck on the north end of campus.

Lieutenant Roy Acree says it happened around 7:10 AM, to a woman in the parking deck at Goodwin and University in Urbana.


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - August 09, 2012

Court OKs Suit Against Normal School’s Inaction on Sex Abuse

(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)

The Illinois Supreme Court has allowed a lawsuit accusing McLean County school officials of not doing enough to keep an abusive teacher from being hired in Urbana.

31-year old Jon White was teaching at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal when parents complained about him abusing their daughters. He wasn't charged with a crime at the time, but the school did suspend him. White went on to abuse at least eight girls at a new job at Thomas Paine Elementary School in Urbana.

Categories: Criminal Justice
Tags: courts, crime

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