Reporters Tour Illinois Prison

Dec 3, 2012

A two-hour tour of the Vienna Correctional Center  offered journalists a glimpse at the minimum security facility. Governor Pat Quinn in August argued state prisons were off limits to the news media because of a security risk. But in October he abandoned that effort.

Credit IDOC

Vienna Correctional Center Lt. Michael Turner says  despite the administration's attempt, correctional officers have nothing to hide inside the prison walls. Turner said understaffing and overcrowding are synonymous with prison systems worldwide. But he says Governor Quinn's proposal to close the Tamms Supermax Prison and several other correctional facilities is only going to exacerbate this dangerous situation.

AFSCME Regional Director Eddie Caumiant says he's optimistic that the state legislature is apparently on track to restore the funding for the targeted prisons. Caumiant admits he's not confident the governor will restore the prison funding even if lawmakers override his veto.

The news media will also be allowed to tour the Pontiac and Vandalia prisons in the coming weeks.

Vienna Correctional Center
Opened: November 1965
*Operational Capacity: 1,887
Minimum Security Adult Male
*Population Vienna Correctional Center: 1,634
*Population Dixon Springs Impact Incarceration Program: 273
*Total Current Population: 1,907
Average Age: 32
FY2010 Average Annual Cost Per Inmate: $22,218.00 

*As of 5/31/2012. Reflects bed space capacity analysis as outlined in the July 1, 2012 Quarterly Report to the Legislature.

*Information from

Illinois Public Radio's Brad Palmer and Jeff Williams contributed to this report