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Judge rules against prison closures

Thu, 11 Oct 2012 06:22:41 CDT

There's been another court ruling in favor of a prisons workers union fighting Governor Pat Quinn's efforts to close two facilities. Circuit Judge Charles Cavaness cited safety concerns when he issued the injunction Wednesday in Alexander County. It replaces a temporary restraining order he issued last month, and requires the prisons to remain open while the administration and a union go through arbitration. The ruling covers Quinn's plan to close the Dwight and Tamms prisons, three adult transition centers, including one in Decatur, and two youth prisons. AFSCME union spokesman Anders Lindall says its contract obligates the state to provide a safe workplace:


"Three court rulings and an arbitrator's award have concurred, that employees will be placed at risk if the governor's closures and inmate transfers go forward. They'll worsen overcrowding, they'll endanger safety of workers, and we believe ultimately, the public."

The union goes back before an arbitrator next week. Aides say the Democratic governor plans to appeal the judge's decision.   Legislators provided money to keep the facilities open, but Quinn vetoed the funds. He says they should be spent on education.

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