John Howard Association

An Illinois prison watchdog group says conditions are tense at Menard Correctional Center, in southern Illinois.


For the third time in as many months, the death of a Menard prison inmate has resulted in a murder charge.

Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker says he's filed a murder charge against 38-year-old ex-Menard inmate Frank Wings.  Walker says Wings is accused of strangling William Crowder on March 26 in their cell in the maximum-security lockup's segregation unit.


The Randolph County coroner has ruled another inmate death as a murder at the Menard maximum-security prison in Chester.

Coroner Randy Dudenbostel says 35-year-old William Crowder died March 26 from ``manual strangulation.'' The coroner classified the death as a homicide.  State's Attorney Jeremy Walker was not immediately available to comment on criminal charges.        


A 23-year-old Menard Correctional Center inmate has been charged with murder in the death of his cell mate.

Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker says Donald Hazzard is accused of beating 64-year-old Yusuf Abuzir in their cell Jan. 25.  Abuzir died in the prison infirmary on Feb. 25.   Walker says Hazzard will be held in the Randolph County Jail on a $750,000 bond after he's released from Menard.


Illinois prisons at Pontiac, Sheridan and Stateville have more guards on rotation. The Departments of Corrections says most of the employees who had been working at the now closed Dwight correctional center started new jobs Monday.


The warden at the maximum-security prison in Pontiac says there have been no problems or violent incidents with inmates shipped in from the now-closed Tamms Correctional Center.

Illinois Prisons: Healthcare

Mar 27, 2013

Illinois taxpayers are paying a private healthcare company more than $1.3 billion over ten years to provide care for inmates in prisons.


The Associated Press has learned that authorities are calling the death of Menard Correctional Center inmate Tuesday night ``suspicious.''

Illinois Prisons: Crowding

Mar 26, 2013

The agency that runs Illinois prisons has more inmates than it has room for.

Illinois Prisons: Going Home

Mar 25, 2013
Prison Overcrowding

Illinois Public Radio’s Robert Wildeboer has been reporting for months about Illinois prisons, both from the inside and the outside.

Inmates at the Shawnee Correctional Center and five other state prisons will be bunking in gyms in the coming weeks as part of the state’s ongoing struggle with overcrowding.

According to a letter Thursday from the Department of Corrections to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union the state will be setting up temporary bed space at the prisons in Vienna, Vandalia, Centralia, Danville, Canton and Hillsboro. Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano says the gymnasiums at the six prisons will be used temporarily for minimum security inmates.


The Randolph County States Attorney says he is treating the Jan. 31 death of a southern Illinois prison inmate as a murder investigation.


Two guards and a chaplain have been released from a hospital after being hurt at Menard penitentiary during an attack Tuesday.


A prison inmate found dead in his cell at Menard Correctional Center has been identified.


The era of Illinois' Tamms "supermax" prison ended Friday as the last five inmates housed there were packed up and moved.


Illinois prison officials are moving quickly to empty correctional facilities that are slated to be closed.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano says 124 inmates have been moved from the high-security Tamms prison since Thursday. The inmates, who've been called "the worst of the worst," are moving to the maximum-security Pontiac prison.  Twelve inmates remain at the state's "supermax" and 48 in Tamms' minimum-security unit.  Solano says all residents also have been moved out of three halfway houses, including the Glass House in Carbondale. targeted for closing.

Tamms Faces Closure of Post Office

Dec 21, 2012

It looks certain the village of Tamms will lose its Supermax prison, and now another closure looms large.


Illinois prison officials have started inmate transfers from the high-security Tamms supermax prison in preparation for a Jan. 4 closing date. 

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano says 25 inmates from Tamms are moving Thursday to Pontiac Correctional Center.   That leaves just over 100 inmates in the single-cell isolation portion of Tamms.  Just under 100 minimum security inmates must move too.        


An Alexander County judge has dissolved the injunction stopping the closure of the Tamms Supermax prison and other state facilities.

The circuit court judge's action came Wednesday.  Last week, the Illinois supreme ordered that the injunction be lifted.   A lawsuit by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees delayed the closures.  An AFSCME spokesman said Wednesday night that the closures make the remaining prisons "more dangerous for employees, inmates and the public."

State of Corrections: Vienna Prison

Dec 17, 2012
Google Earth

A couple weeks ago reporters got a look at conditions inside the Vienna Correctional Center in Southern Illinois.

Google Earth

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's administration appears to be changing its tune on allowing reporters inside state prisons.

An Illinois state lawmaker is demanding oversight of health care for prison inmates.


A hearing over the fight to close several Illinois correctional facilities is scheduled for Cook County Circuit Court this week.


A ceiling has collapsed at the Vandalia prison in Southern Illinois forcing administrators there to move prisoners.


Two major Illinois prisons and other facilities will stay open for at least another month after an arbitrator ruled Governor Pat Quinn's administration violated workers' rights in rushing to close them.        

WSIU Radio's Jennifer Fuller has the morning's news and weather.