Illinois Prisoner Population Sets New Record
By Robert Wildeboer
The population at the Illinois Department of Corrections has reached a new high.
Last week, the Illinois Department of Corrections broke a rather unenviable record. On Tuesday, the department housed 49,172 inmates.
The previous record was set in October of last year when the population hit 49,135.
The population has been steadily rising since Governor Pat Quinn suspended an early release program in the middle of a heated primary election against Dan Hynes two years ago.
Quinn recently signed into law a new early release program that should help to bring down the numbers but it hasn't yet been implemented. Despite the bulging population, Quinn is seeking to close several prisons to save money.
Those facilities include the Supermax facility at Tamms and women's prison in Dwight.
The closures are opposed by the union representing prison workers who say overcrowding is already causing safety concerns.
The AFSCME prison workers union is locked in a legal battle with the state over Quinn's plans, postponing any facility closures.