Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 6, 2013

Dwight prison to close by month's end

(Continued)

"This plan underscores our concern that any closures, given the existing overcrowding, will impact and destabilize the entire system," Lindall said.

According to Corrections' numbers, Logan's population is about 1,300 men. Lincoln Correctional Center has 995 women and Dwight 933.

The timeline indicates that this week, male prisoners have begun moving from Logan to penitentiaries in Canton, Centralia, Danville, Hillsboro, and Vienna. Lower-security inmates moved to Vandalia prison last week. The memo says administrators at those facilities are instructed to identify 100 prisoners "for dorm-style housing within their gymnasiums." After placement, the newcomers from Logan would take their cells.

Dwight inmates would start moving next week, too — in groups of 50 to 100 — making the 89-mile trip to Logan a dozen times through March 30.

Corrections officials confirmed last month that temporary bed space would be set up in gymnasiums at the six prisons, but refused to say whether the change was tied to Dwight's closure and the need to make room for displaced inmates at Logan.

Solano said last month that the need for temporary housing in gyms would decline in coming months.

But Lindall pointed out that IDOC's own projection, released last month, shows the overall prison population will be higher at the end of 2013 than it is now.

John Maki, executive director of the John Howard Association, a prison watchdog group that supported closing Tamms but opposes Dwight's shutdown, said last month the temporary quarters are unsafe and that "bed space (is) trumping security and operations."

 

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