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Danville Prison on Lockdown After Assualt on Guard

The Danville Correctional Center is on lockdown after an attempted sexual assault on a prison guard early Thursday morning.

The President of AFSCME Local 2052, Rick DePratt, said incident occurred about 2:30 a.m. in a laundry facility.   He says the inmate housed in the prison’s gym was assigned as a worker for those inmates. 

“(He) tricked a female officer that was there, telling her there was a problem with the washing machine, lured in in the laundry room,” DePratt said.  “He hit her, knocked her down, tried to assault her.  At the time, another inmate that was cleaning in a different area heard it, (and) broke it up.”

DePratt says the guard didn’t suffer serious injuries, but was treated and released at a local hospital. 

He said prison is at 205-percent of capacity of when the correctional center opened in 1985 to house 896 inmates.  The population as of today is 1,931, with about 100 inmates living in the gym.

DePratt said it's been many years, at least 13, since any similar incidents have occured at the prison. 

"We've had a few (incidents since then) that we would call staff assaults," he said, mostly referring to fights between inmates. 

AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said this underscores how Governor Pat Quinn’s administration’s irresponsible actions have made Illinois prisons increasingly volatile and dangerous.

“The men and women who work in our prisons provide for the safety of the public, and they deserve the safest possible working conditions,” AFSCME executive director Henry Bayer said in a press release. “Their job is difficult, but the choices of politicians have made it worse. The state has ignored its responsibility to provide the resources needed to maintain safety, and now workers are bearing the terrible consequences.”

Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer described the incident as an assault. He says the agency is investigating.  Shaer says the inmate had been in the gym but had not presented any problems while at Danville.

Lindall says there’s litigation still pending over Governor Pat Quinn’s successful efforts to close correctional centers and other facilities, which include the Tamms Correctional Center in Southern Illinois, which closed late last year, and the all-female women's correctional facility in Dwight, which closed at the end of March.