Hardin Work Camp closure confirmed for Dec. 31

HARDIN COUNTY — Despite efforts to halt the closure of the Hardin County Work Camp in Southern Illinois, the Department of Corrections has confirmed plans to close the facility on December 31.

Representative Brandon Phelps said he plans to continue to fight Governor Bruce Rauner over that plan.

Phelps says it’s too easy for Rauner to close the facility and he’s not going to stand for it, after having Tamm’s already closed and now maybe the Hardin Work Camp and Sparta Shooting Complex.

Rauner suggested closing the camp to save the state money. A representative with the Illinois Department of Corrections said shutting the facility down will allow the agency to save taxpayers one million dollars a year in operational and overtime costs.

The decision comes just days after an Illinois government oversight committee voted to keep it open. According to Phelps, there were Republicans on the committee who voted to keep the facility open, so now they’re going to try to pass a bill to stop the closure.

A bill making it harder to close facilities may also secure jobs. For now, everyone on staff at the work camp will keep their jobs but at another IDOC facility.

Inmates will transfer to other work camps or minimum security facilities, where they will still have educational and vocational programs.