A lack of state funding and the closing of prisons in Illinois is beginning to have an affect on Henry Hill Correctional Center.
The prison, located just off Highway 34 near Galesburg, is experiencing what was described by union officials as overcrowding.
Henry Hill was designed to house a single prisoner per cell, but is currently housing two inmates per cell.
Understaffing is being reported at the facility as well according to AFSCME union representatives.
Henry Hill began experiencing the problems with the closing of the Tamms “supermax” prison in Southern Illinois by Governor Pat Quinn.
AFSCME Representative Ed Anderson tells Galesburg Live the medium facilities are handling inmates they’re not used to.
“We’ve got more maximum security inmates than we’ve ever had before,” says Anderson. “Normally, we had more minimum and medium, but that makes it a lot more dangerous because those inmates are a lot different to handle than the minimum and medium inmates.”
Tamms was closed amid complaints about the correctional center’s solitary confinement practices. Guards and workers at Henry Hill Correctional Center, for now, are sometimes being asked to work extra hours on a mandate – often on short notice.
Anderson tells Galesburg Live that Henry Hill is now dealing with a greater number of inmate gang altercations since the closure of Tamms.
“Those gang leaders, most of them were in Tamms, and now they’ve been put in other facilities so wherever they go they increase the threat of gangs because they try to recruit once they get there,” says Anderson.
Anderson says 179 guards are on the roster, but the union recommends having 230 guards to ensure safety.