A bipartisan panel of Illinois lawmakers heard hours of testimony Monday from both sides regarding Governor Rauner's desire to close the Hardin County Work Camp.
Hundreds of concerned citizens lined the bleachers at the High School in Elizabethtown, and, despite the crowd, the gymnasium was silent as Illinois Department of Corrections Director Gladyse Taylor began the hearing.
"The Department plans to close the Hardin Work Camp by the end of this calendar year. The Department of Corrections currently spends about three-point-five million dollars annually to operate the Hardin Work Camp."
State Representative Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg then addressed the panel and talked about how another prison closing in southern Illinois had devastating effects.
"That little poor town of Tamms was hurt. They're still struggling with their water company and their sewer company - there's hardly any revenue generated in that little town. I'm worried that you all are helping Elizabethtown, Rosiclare, and Cave In Rock just to be ghost towns."
And State Senator Gary Forby agreed. He says the closure decision is all about politics.
"This is not fair. This is not about the state of Illinois. We've got another governor from Chicago, Illinois to come down here and tell us that we've got to close our place. This is not fair."
The hearing was sponsored by the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, as the panel works to vet Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed closures all over the state.