In an effort to save the state money, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says in a matter of weeks, two major prisons and several other state facilities will be closed, including the Decatur Adult Transition Center. Robin Murray works at the Catholic Charities food pantry in Decatur, and she says about a fourth of her volunteers are offenders at the Transition Center. She says ever after they finish serving their time, many of them return:
"They would come back to us to volunteer on their own. Many times, we would have young men who would often just want to make a contribution to the organization because they felt it was such a worthwhile service and they felt not only was it helping them, but they were helping someone else."
The Decatur center costs more than two million dollars a year to operate, and Governor Quinn says closing it will save the state money. A lawsuit by the AFSCME union put a halt to all the facilities slated for closure, but an Alexander County judge last week dissolved an injunction stopping that from happening. An AFSCME spokesman says the closures make the remaining prisons "more dangerous for employees, inmates and the public."
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