Ceiling collapses at troubled downstate IL prison

September 4, 2012

(AP/File)
In this 2004 file photo, a metal gate blocks the main entrance to the Vandalia Correctional Center,in Vandalia, Ill.

A ceiling has collapsed at the Vandalia prison in Southern Illinois forcing administrators there to move prisoners. According to a written statement from the department of corrections, part of a ceiling collapsed Sunday morning because of rain. The short statement says roofing work was already underway at Vandalia and notes no staff or inmates were injured though 88 inmates had to be moved to the prison's gym.

An IDOC spokeswoman could not immediately answer follow-up questions seeking more info on the size or seriousness of the collapse. WBEZ has recently reported on deteriorating living conditions and overcrowding at Vandalia.

This is not the first time prisoners have been forced to live in the gym. One former inmate says he stayed there with about 60 men and only one working toilet. There's no word yet from IDOC on how many working toilets are in the gym now but they say plumbing is "adequate."

WBEZ has been seeking a visit to the prison but Governor Pat Quinn has denied repeated requests.