From AP - News Local/State -

Reporters Get Look Inside Southern Illinois Prison

Journalists have been allowed to tour a southern Illinois prison that a watchdog group had found to be overcrowded and plagued by squalid conditions.

According to the (Decatur) Herald & Review (http://bit.ly/VdLBNN), reporters visiting the minimum-security Vandalia Correctional Center on Friday were given a close look at the facility's vocational programs.


Prison officials said they have so far been able to maintain the work experience programs at Vandalia and even expand them despite budget constraints.

Gov. Pat Quinn is closing two Illinois prisons that he says are too costly to operate, prompting an outcry from prison workers that doing so will worsen the state prison system's already severe overcrowding.

The independent prison watchdog group The John Howard Association visited Vandalia in 2011 and reported, in some cases, squalid conditions.