A two-hour tour of the Vienna Correctional Center Friday offered journalists from around the state a glimpse at the minimum security facility. Gov. Pat Quinn in August argued state prisons were off limits to the media because of a security risk, but in October he abandoned that effort.
Vienna Correctional Center Lt. Michael Turner said after the tour that despite the administration's attempt, correctional officers have nothing to hide inside the prison walls. Turner says understaffing and overcrowding are synonymous with prison systems worldwide. But he says Quinn's proposal to close the Tamms Supermax Prison and several other correctional facilities is only going to exacerbate this dangerous situation.
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AFSCME Regional Director Eddie Caumiant says he's optimistic that the state legislature is apparently on track to restore the funding for the targeted prisons. Caumiant admits he's not confident the governor will restore the prison funding even if lawmakers override his veto.
The media will also be allowed to tour the Pontiac and Vandalia prisons in the coming weeks.