A judge in Southern Illinois has filed an injunction to halt Gov. Pat Quinn from closing Dwight Correctional Center. (WJBC File Photo)
By The Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD - An Illinois judge is barring Gov. Pat Quinn from going forward with his plan to close two prisons, at least for now.
Circuit Judge Charles Cavaness cited safety concerns when he issued the injunction Wednesday in Alexander County.
"It's been a long time coming on this decision, not that it's over yet," said Dwight Mayor Bill Wilkey. "There are enough people with common sense to see that [closing the prisons] is a bad decision. It's a good day with great news, so we'll keep our fingers crossed."
Wilkey believes the General Assembly has enough votes to override Quinn's veto when session resumes in November. He also adds that he will continue to work to ensure enough support for keeping the prisons open.
It replaces a temporary restraining order he issued last month and requires the prisons to remain open while the administration and a union go through arbitration.
The injunction covers Quinn's plan to close prisons at Dwight and Tamms, as well as three halfway houses and two youth prisons. Aides say the Democratic governor plans to appeal the judge's decision.
State Rep. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign, issued a statement on Thursday stating that he's hopeful that a long-term solution can be reached to keep the Dwight prison open.
"I would like to see further movement on state facility closures to at least be delayed until the General Assembly returns for the fall veto session in late November. At that time, I think there will be a strong push by a number of legislators to restore funding for these institutions and hopefully convince Gov. Quinn to reevaluate his poor decision to close these needed prisons," Barickman said.
Legislators provided money to keep the facilities open, but Quinn vetoed the funds. He says they should be spent on education.