Prison on Lockdown After Weapons, Alcohol Found

CHESTER, Ill. (AP) — Illinois’ biggest maximum-security prison is on lockdown after corrections officers uncovered more than a dozen crude weapons, gallons of homemade alcohol and a hoard of juice used to make the intoxicants.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says the items were found Friday during a routine search of the Menard Correctional Center near Chester, southeast of St. Louis.

Shaer says the stash was found in an unspecified sanitation area in the 3,700-inmate lockup.

The indefinite lockdown means inmates are not allowed to leave their cells unless they have health-care issues or need showers.

Shaer attributes the cache of contraband to failures by prison staff to properly search inmates. But Menard corrections sergeant and union representative Kevin Hirsch says the discovery illustrates the need for more staffing at the prison.

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