Illinois data show spike in illegal prison hooch

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Department of Corrections data show incidents of illegal alcohol brewed by inmates is on pace to double this year.

Corrections spokeswoman Lindsey Hess told The Associated Press Friday there have been 71 reports of inmates found with liquor since the fiscal year began July 1. That’s compared with 83 in the previous year.

She did not say why administrators believe there’s a spike. But she rejected an allegation made by prison guard Corey Knop (kih-NOHP’) before a House committee this week.

Knop said lack of payment to a fruit juice vendor during the budget crisis forced Corrections to find a replacement that offers higher juice content preferable for brewing hooch.

Hess says Corrections has not recently changed vendors and switched to higher juice content in 2008 for nutritional reasons.