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Dwight Village President: Quinn’s Plan To Close Prisons Is A Bargaining Ploy

Gov. Pat Quinn discusses pension and Medicaid reform efforts during an interview with CBS 2 on May 8, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

Gov. Pat Quinn discusses pension and Medicaid reform efforts during an interview with CBS 2 on May 8, 2012. (Credit: CBS)

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DWIGHT, Ill. (CBS) — Angry reaction is erupting from Gov. Pat Quinn’s order to close down several Illinois prisons, including the women’s correctional center in Dwight.

As WBBM Newrsadio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, Quinn has also ordered the closure of the Tamms Supermax prison, along with youth prisons in Joliet and Murphysboro, and halfway houses in Chicago, Decatur and Carbondale.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Bill Wilkey – village president of Dwight – a community of 4,300, says closing the prison would be devastating to his town.

“Our own people estimated that it would be about $60 million – the impact on Dwight and the area around here,” Wilkey said.

Lawmakers provided money in the state budget for Dwight, Tamms and the other facilities. But Quinn still plans to close them.

Wilkey thinks it’s all a bargaining ploy.

“My opinion is he’s using this as a chip to say, ‘Hey, you give me the pension reform that I want, and I’ll give you the budget that you want,” he said.

Quinn has said he plans to deal with pension reform in a special summer session, after lawmakers failed to act on it during the spring legislative session.

So far, no date has been set.