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Illinois Law Enforcement Jobs Unnecessary?

Posted on December 10, 2008

Some workers were lucky enough to secure Illinois law enforcement jobs, but state residents are complaining their posts are unnecessary.

The State of Illinois recently announced that 208 prison guards had been hired, a move that is putting some people in an uproar after the state decided to cut other positions because of budget complications. According to an article by The Associated Press, the Department of Corrections hired the employees to work at the Thomson Correctional Center at a cost of $10.8 million for the first year of work.

The workers were tapped to provide security at the prison, which is located in northwestern Illinois, for inmates being transferred from Pontiac Prison. Pontiac Prison is slated to close in an effort to save $4 million per year. However, the prison is currently still open because of a lawsuit filed by union officials.

The move to close the prison could eliminate 570 jobs. Because of this, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees recently filed a lawsuit against the IDOC to stop it from closing the facility and cutting jobs. According to an article by the Fort Mill Times, the prison is the town’s second-largest employer.

The state plans to move inmates from Pontiac, which is a maximum-security prison, to smaller prisons not built to handle maximum-security prisoners. Many of Pontiac’s 1,600 prisoners have been reclassified from medium-security to minimum-security and transfered to minimum-security prisons such as the Vienna Correctional Center in Johnson County and other prisons in Moline and Taylorville. Half of the inmates will be moved to a prison in Thomson.

Because Pontiac remains open, 89 of the new employees hired by IDOC are going to be reassigned to Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet at a cost of $9,000 per week for housing.

The extra cost this move will place on the state and tax payers is putting many people in an uproar as workers in other departments already lost their jobs. The state previously laid off hundreds of workers because of state budget problems, including 325 human-services and tourism workers. The state also cut substance-abuse treatment services and closed 24 state attractions.

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