The Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin
David Mercer / AP

Tazewell County is reporting a major COVID-19 outbreak at the Federal Correctional Institution in Pekin.

Illinois prisons officials have told state lawmakers that they need an extra $420 million to get through the rest of the budget year.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation prohibiting the Illinois Department of Corrections from hiring private healthcare workers. Rauner vetoed the measure Friday. He says it's unnecessary because his administration signed an agreement May 22 with the Illinois Nurses Association about subcontracting for nurses.

Several IDOC Officers Injured in Pontiac Assault

Aug 22, 2016
Google Earth

An Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman says six officers have been injured by inmates at the maximum-security prison in Pontiac. IDOC spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said in a brief statement that the correctional officers were treated for injuries that are not life-threatening after the incident Sunday at the Pontiac Correctional Center.

In January, the Illinois prison population was down by more than 2,500 inmates over a year earlier. But that’s still a long way off from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s goal of cutting the population by 12,000 prisoners over the next decade.

The commission he appointed to make that happen is still figuring out how to meet his goal, and met Monday in Chicago to continue deliberations.

The new director of Illinois prisons says union contracts are the source of many problems within the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Quinn’s budget includes re-opening youth prisons

Mar 27, 2014


The state budget proposed this week by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s includes money to reopen two recently shuttered youth prisons.  

Report: IL prison youth education in violation, inadequate

Sep 23, 2013
WBEZ/Chicago Public Radio

The education Illinois kids get in youth prisons is grossly inadequate, and in violation of state and federal laws and regulations.  That’s according to a new report that can’t simply be put on a shelf.  IPR’s Robert Wildeboer has more:  

Transfers from Dwight Prison to Pontiac

Apr 1, 2013

The closure of the Dwight Correctional Center last week means other state prisons will be able to ramp up staff.  As IPR’s Amanda Vinicky reports, most employees transferred from Dwight start at their new posts Monday.

The Tamms prison in deep southern Illinois used to house the so-called "worst of the worst" inmates who'd committed the most heinous crimes, or misbehaved in other prison and were thus isolated as punishment. When Governor Pat Quinn ordered Tamms closed last year, those inmates were moved to the Pontiac prison.

Warden Randy Phister says there have been no problems with the Tamms inmates since they arrived, some in August, others in December. That's despite Pontiac not getting any additional staff to help with the 140 extra inmates. Pontiac prison guard Frank Turner, who’s also President of the local AFSCME union, says that forced an average of 56 overtime shifts a day.  

"You have to have them bodies here to protect the public and the institution and protect the inmates from each other. Somebody has to be here. And if you have to work 16 hours you have to work 16 hours," says Turner.

Over the last few weeks the Illinois Department of Corrections has been moving 600 men into gymnasiums across the state where they’re now living. It’s the latest sign of the overcrowding problem facing the prisons -- but it’s something the public will not see.