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Gov. Pat Quinn plans to call for closing 14 state facilities, including eight run by the Corrections Department, when he presents his proposal for a new Illinois budget that would slash spending throughout state government, a person familiar with the plan told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The eight Corrections Department facilities targeted for closure are not all prisons, said the person, who has seen the governor’s budget plan but is not authorized to discuss it publicly. The person would speak only on condition of anonymity.
Aside from prisons, the only facilities on the Corrections Department’s website are seven “adult transition centers” for inmates nearing the end of their sentences and various work camps affiliated with prisons.
Quinn’s budget, which he plans to unveil at noon Wednesday during a speech to the General Assembly, calls for closing two facilities run by the Department of Juvenile Justice and four under the Department of Human Services, the person said.
Illinois prisons are severely overcrowded. As of November, 48,620 people were squeezed into space designed for 33,700. The Corrections Department has begun counting areas like gymnasiums when calculating the space available for housing inmates.
The Democratic governor’s call for closures could be a repeat of last year, when he said several facilities need to be shut down because lawmakers hadn’t given him enough money to run them. They included a prison in Lincoln, a youth prison in Murphysboro and mental institutions in Rockford, Chester and Dixon.
Those closures were avoided when lawmakers approved additional money to keep those and other facilities open.
Quinn has said he’ll call for cuts of 9 percent in most state agencies, and he has challenged other statewide officials to cut the same amount from their budgets. The administration says Medicaid spending must be cut by $2.7 billion and that offici als must find a way to reduce the amount Illinois spends on pensions each year.
One of the few areas where Quinn wants to increase spending is education. He will propose hiking education funds by $90 million, or about 1 percent, with the money going to early childhood education and college scholarships, the administration says. His proposal also includes a call for closing unneeded tax loopholes as a way of coming up with money to gradually pay billions of dollars in overdue bills.