GOP hopefuls: Prisons crowded, but fixes elusive

SPRINGFIELD — When it comes to the state's prisons, Republican candidates for governor agree they're overcrowded. But none has a clear, short-term solution.

The four GOP candidates generally oppose building new lockups, according to their responses to an Associated Press questionnaire about prison policy.

Three candidates — Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard and Dan Rutherford — would consider reopening the shuttered Tamms super-maximum security prison in far southern Illinois.

All four — including Bruce Rauner — agree prison needs should be part of long-term strategic planning the next governor should do for state facilities.

Each is also open to the idea of alternative sentencing programs. Those divert low-level offenders from state prison by getting them drug treatment, therapy and more.

There are about 49,000 Illinois inmates in space designed for 32,000.