Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's administration is describing a prison tour by Heartland Community College students as "educational" while continuing to bar news reporters as a "security risk." The Department of Corrections says 25 criminal justice students from Heartland in Normal toured the maximum-security Pontiac lockup Friday. The Democratic governor defended his ban on news reporters' visits in August amid his attempts to close two prisons despite a record-high prison population. Heartland spokesman Josh Reinhart says he was told the 25 criminal justice students only visited "administrative" areas of the maximum-security prison at Pontiac and not prisoner areas. Reinhart could not provide details about those areas but said the students are interested in corrections careers. Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano says Heartland's "educational" tour was closely monitored. But she wouldn't say how a media tour would be handled any differently. She did not immediately respond when asked why The Associated Press never received a response to an Aug. 23 request for a Pontiac tour sent by certified mail.
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