Illinois Department of Corrections

flickr user / Michael Coghlan "Prison Bars" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The new director of Illinois prisons says union contracts are the source of many problems within the state Department of Corrections. 

Prisons chief Donald Stolworthy wrote in a memo to Gov. Bruce Rauner that union contracts contribute to “many of the ills within the system.” That includes personnel costs and management qualifications. 

In documents, Stolworthy says overtime costs skyrocketed in recent years. Union spokesman Anders Lindall says overtime problems result from a lack of staff.

The Illinois Department of Corrections is still investigating how an inmate escaped from the Vandalia Correctional Center last week. Investigators talked with more than 100 people to determine how Marcus Battice broke out of the minimum-security facility.

Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says that'll continue for a while; anyone in contact with Battice in the weeks leading up to his escape must be interviewed. The department has concluded it does NOT need to change what it does to prevent escapes.

Illinois prisons will soon offer video visitations for inmates. A watchdog says it could be beneficial. But it has concerns about how the trend is playing out in county jails.

wbez

Illinois prisons are expanding a program to feed some inmates two meals a day instead of three.