Illinois Prisons Dealing With Backup Power Issues

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Department of Corrections officials are retesting emergency power equipment at the state’s correctional facilities to ensure they are adequately prepared for emergencies.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports a storm on Aug. 20 caused a 92-minute blackout at Vandalia Correctional Center. One prisoner at the minimum-security facility attacked a guard and others became unruly.

Other prison power outages caused similar problems with inmates, at Vienna Correctional Center in January and East Moline Correction Center in 2012.

The department says all of the state’s prison facilities have backup generators, except Vandalia and a halfway house in Peoria.

A corrections spokesman says portable generators, flashlights and lanterns can also help in the event of a prolonged power outage at those two facilities. He says Vandalia is awaiting a generator ordered before the blackout.

A spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union says the light failures highlight a lack of necessary funding.

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