Yes, In My Backyard

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This article was written on 08 Mar 2013, and is filled under Illinois, In The News.

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SET TO CLOSE: MAXIMUM SECURITY WOMEN’S PRISON IN ILLINOIS

4137437E-300x187With Dwight Correctional Center set to close by Sunday, March 31, Dwight Mayor Bill Wilkey and state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, still see a glimmer of hope.

“It’s been going on for several months, over a year,” Wilkey said. “They’ve set this date and that date. We’ll just wait and see.”

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn first announced his plan to close Dwight prison in February 2012, along with several other state facilities, as part of a series of budget cuts. City officials, union leaders and prison employees have rallied and fought for the past year to save the maximum security women’s prison.

Barickman, originally from south Streator, has been an avid fighter against the cuts, saying he understands the personal impact closing the prison will have on the communities.

“I think it’s short-sighted,” Barickman said. “This decision will affect a lot of people. I have been very vocal about my disagreement. I’ve tried to make sure I’ve done my best to speak out for Dwight.”

After Quinn’s 2014 budget address Wednesday, Barickman sought one final chance.

“I asked the governor for a personal plea to reconsider,” Barickman said. “He did say he would revisit the issue one last time, and he did promise to get back to me. There is still a glimpse of hope.”

The governor has only a short time to reconsider because Dwight inmates are scheduled to start moving next week to Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln.

Dwight prison houses 980 inmates and employs 359 people.

“Most employees will be transferred, but a lot won’t be,” Wilkey said. “We’re just looking for something for those employees. I’m holding on to hope.”

Read more at:

Officials still have hope for Dwight prison

The Times
March 7, 2013

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