From WILL - News Local/State -

Prison Officials Drop August 31 as Shutdown Date

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has officially abandoned his hope of shutting down prisons by Friday.

A letter from the Corrections Department instructs employees at targeted prisons to keep reporting to work. In it, Director S.A. "Tony'' Godinez announces a "temporary delay for the layoffs and closures'' that were scheduled for Aug. 31.

The letter was obtained today by The Associated Press.

Quinn wanted to empty the Tamms supermax prison and the women's prison at Dwight to save money.

Despite being granted another extension, State Senator Shane Cultra (R-Onarga) says the damage has already been done.

"Workers and residents of Dwight and Livingston County still face an uncertain future," said Cultra in a statement.  "We will continue to work throughout the fall and into the Veto Session for a desirable solution that will hopefully keep Dwight Correctional Center open.”

But the prison workers' union filed a lawsuit. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees claims Corrections must negotiate conditions, particularly on handling the Tamms population.

Union spokesman Anders Lindall said arbitration hearings will take place daily this week.