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Illinois Law Enforcement Jobs Saved

Posted on March 16, 2009

Those with Illinois law enforcement jobs will be happy to know that Pontiac Correctional Center will remain open, despite recent controversy.

Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced that he will keep the center open, as it provides 600 jobs and generates about $54.4 million in revenue for the area. Former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich had announced that the center would close by the end of 2008.

“Especially in these tough economic times, we must be more fiscally responsible,” Quinn said in a press release. “Keeping Pontiac Correctional Center open will ensure nearly 600 people in the region keep their jobs, prevent hundreds of families from being uprooted, and allow Pontiac to maintain one of its largest sources of revenue.”

If the center were to close, not only would 600 employees lose their jobs, but 1,600 inmates and the facility’s operating budget would be transferred to the Thomson Correctional Center, which is located in Carroll County, Ill. Pontiac is the only facility in Illinois that provides single cells for maximum-security inmates.

In September, the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, which is in charge of studying and providing recommendations on local and regional economic fiscal policies, released a memorandum citing its unanimous vote against the center’s closing. Other critics, including lawmakers, elected officials and community action groups, vocally opposed the closing.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees also filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections to stop it from closing the facility and cutting jobs. The lawsuit cites examples of security problems at the prison, including an incident in which about 150 inmates were moved out of a medium-security prison in Lawrence to make room for some of Pontiac’s maximum-security prisoners.

Daily Gazette
Mt Morris
Prairie Advocate