CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP/KSDK) - Two guards and a chaplain have been released from a hospital after being hurt in an Illinois prison attack that union officials say involved up to 15 inmates.
Tuesday's assaults were the latest in a series of violent incidents over the last month at Menard Correctional Center and other Illinois state prisons. Last Thursday, a Menard inmate died in what one official called suspicious circumstances.
Union officials say the violence is a result of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to close several prisons around the state to save money.
Tuesday's assaults happened as about 200 union members marched outside the prison in the southern Illinois town of Chester. They were protesting over what they say are growing threats to their safety.
Corrections officials say the attack led to a lockdown.'
State Rep. Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton) released the following statement on Wednesday:
"These attacks are just the latest example of what has become a pattern at IDOC. Once again, two members of the correctional staff and a clergyman paid the price for Governor Quinn's misguided decision to close Tamms Correctional Center. Clearly, these prisons are overcrowded and understaffed, and as we warned, this imbalance is having disastrous consequences.
"Those who work in our state prisons have an incredibly dangerous job. And yet, despite the protest of these very workers, the Governor chose to make it more dangerous by consolidating staff and further overcrowding the remaining facilities. The Governor made this decision in the face of already overcrowded prisons and an ever-rising prison population.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of these attacks and their families, and I wish the three of them a speedy recovery. It is my hope that these incidents will force the Governor to become more involved in this issue, before these attacks become a more regular occurrence. The staff of these facilities put themselves in harm's way every day and they deserve better."
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)