Students tour prison, reporters banned
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration is defending its decision allowing community college students to take an “educational” tour of one of the state’s maximum-security prison while still continuing to bar reporters from such visits, citing security risk.
A group of 25 criminal justice students from Heartland Community College in Normal toured the maximum-security prison in Pontiac Friday, said Corrections Department spokeswoman Stacey Solano. A college spokesman said he was told the undergrads didn’t see inmate living areas.
The Associated Press and other news media outlets have been denied tour requests by Quinn, who is attempting to close two prisons to save money despite historic overcrowding of the state’s prisons. According to an AP analysis of state data, there are more than 49,300 inmates held in prisons designed for 33,700.
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