Illinois Senate Approves Prison Chief
The Illinois Senate has approved retaining the state's director of prisons, despite complaints from Republicans about the peformance of S.A. "Tony" Godinez.
The Senate voted 37-18 to consent to Gov. Pat Quinn's appointment over those complaints.
Godinez has been Corrections Department director since April 2011. The job pays $150,200.
Godinez has been criticized for a number of issues. He followed Quinn's directive to close two prisons and sell one to the federal government. The prisons are overcrowded - holding nearly 50,000 inmates in a system designed for 32,000.
And he has overseen the hiring of a former congressman's son whom the executive inspector general said was not qualified.
He also oversaw the hiring of a former gang member whom the Chicago Sun-Times reported had been arrested two dozen times.
The assistant director of Ohio's prison system has won the top job at the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Gov. Pat Quinn announced Thursday that he is nominating Michael Randle to serve as director of the Illinois prison agency. He calls Randle "the best of the best.''
If confirmed by the state Senate, Randle will take over a system facing major challenges. Its prisons house far more inmates than they were designed to hold, while the size of the prison staff has been slashed by 25 percent.
Randle says he's concerned about the safety of overworked prison guards, but he's staying quiet about any possible solutions until he reviews the situation.
Gov. Pat Quinn says he's going to appoint a new head of the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Quinn refused Tuesday to divulge who he would name, but he said an announcement was likely later this week.
The governor says a priority will be looking at operations at the Tamms Correctional Center. Some question the long hours inmates spend in solitary confinement at the Alexander County prison.
The corrections department has been run by former Macon County Sheriff Roger E. Walker Jr. since 2003. Department spokesman Derek Schnapp says Walker has no immediate comment.
Quinn didn't say why he was making the appointment.
Walker was an appointee of ousted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but Quinn has kept other Blagojevich hires in his administration.