Searches of inmates' cells at the Menard prison turned up 21 weapons this week. That's according to Kevin Hirsch, president of the union representing correctional officers at the 3,600-inmate prison in Chester where an officer was attacked Sunday. The 29-year veteran says he hasn't seen that many found in a shakedown since the 1990s. Hirsch says the objects were plastic or metal and were altered in ways that could cause injury. He says searchers called some "killers" based on length and sharpness. A Corrections Department spokeswoman didn't have an immediate comment Thursday. Hirsch is a member of the American Federal of State, County and Municipal Employees. AFSCME is arguing against plans to close the Tamms "supermax" prison where troublemakers can be isolated from places like Menard.
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