Judges May Visit Vienna Prison

Sep 24, 2014

Two federal judges may visit a southern Illinois prison as they work on a class-action lawsuit that inmates brought about overcrowding, according to court documents.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Philip M. Frazier in a Tuesday order called for a meeting with lawyers for both the state and the inmates at the Vienna Correctional Center on Oct. 30, Lee Enterprises' Springfield bureau reported.        

Frazier wrote in the order that U.S. District Judge Phil Gilbert also may attend the meeting. The case has been in settlement talks since late 2013. Gilbert would handle a trial if a settlement isn't reached.        

Three inmates filed suit in 2012 on behalf of the hundreds of inmates in the Vienna facility, arguing that prisoners lived in quarters filled with mold, mice and cockroaches and had insufficient bathrooms. IDOC has since worked to upgrade the facility.        

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office confirmed efforts to set up the meeting. Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer said the agency requested the meeting.

The prison was designed for 925 inmates, according to IDOC reports. The current population is more than 1,600 prisoners, Shaer said.