Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has dismissed proposals that would keep open the Vandalia Correctional Center, reiterating that the state must close “outdated” prisons to fund education, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The governor said that, “All of the experts that we’ve talked to, who have come up with a plan, have felt that consolidating the prison system is the way to get more efficiency in the system, save a lot of money and …invest it in priorities like building schools.”
Blagojevich said a proposal to boost fees charged to parolees would “brings a small amount of money and from a practical standpoint would not be easy to collect.” Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson, one of the prison’s biggest proponents, said the parolee fees would bring in $10 million and he had suggested spending cuts in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He endorsed plan from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that includes eliminating prisoners’ second serving of milk and buying condiments for meals in bulk. Watson said that plan would save nearly $20 million.