Governor Quinn turns down media for tour of prisons

By WEEK Producer

August 10, 2012 Updated Aug 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Governor Pat Quinn wants to close two state prisons, and AFSCME, the Prison Guard's union, says doing so will increase violence in the lockups.

Now, the Governor's office has turned down requests from the Associated Press and Public Radio Station WBEZ to visit prisons to get an inside look for themselves.

After opening the State Fair, Quinn was quizzed about the decision.

"Prisons aren't country clubs. They're not there to be visited and looked at. I think we have to make sure they're secure. And the security of the public is paramount when it comes to prisons," said Governor Pat Quinn.

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford slammed Quinn's new rules, pointing out he had led visits to Pontiac Prison every other year.

He also called Quinn's actions "misguided".

AFSCME said prison guards are being harassed and intimidated when they speak out about the unsafe prison conditions.