Southern Illinois lawmaker seeks to keep work camp open

CARBONDALE,, Ill. (AP) — A state lawmaker from southern Illinois has introduced legislation to keep operating a minimum-security prison work camp targeted to close as part of a cost-cutting move from shutting down.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois prison officials say that closing the Hardin County Work Camp near Cave-in-Rock by year’s end would save the state $1 million annually and avoid the expense of another $9.8 million in repairs.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that Democratic state Rep. Brandon Phelps filed a bill on Nov. 2 that seeks to reverse the Republican governor’s decision.

Phelps and others fighting to save the camp call it a valuable part of a depressed local economy. The camp’s 60 workers have been offered jobs at two other southern Illinois prisons, both about a one-hour drive away.