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Judge Extends Order To Keep Two Illinois Prisons Open

Susan Stephens

An Illinois judge is citing "safety concerns" in his order keeping Governor Pat Quinn from moving forward with plans to close two Illinois prisons.

Circuit Judge Charles Cavaness issued the injunction today, replacing a temporary restraining order he imposed last month. The new order requires the prisons to remain open while the state and a union go through arbitration. 

Quinn planned to close prisons in Dwight and Tamms this fall, as well as three halfway houses and two youth prisons, to save the state money. Lawmakers had budgeted money to keep the prisons open, but Quinn vetoed that decision, indicating the money should be spent on education instead. Unions representing prison employees asked the courts to intervene, saying the governor hadn't allowed enough time for the changes to be safely made. Today's ruling by Judge Cavaness covers the halfway houses and juvenile prisons as well.

Aides to Quinn say he will appeal the judge's decision.

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.
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