Sen. President Cullerton says Quinn wrong on prison access

August 15, 2012

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The president of the Illinois Senate, Democrat John Cullerton, says Gov. Pat Quinn should let reporters into prisons. The comments come in response to a series of stories outlining the governor’s refusal to let WBEZ visit two minimum security prisons. According to Quinn, it's a safety and security concern because the prisons aren't "country clubs."

Cullerton says Quinn's stand contradicts tradition.

“There's a history of reporters being allowed to go into the prison system to observe and that shouldn't be violated,” Cullerton said. “I think that there's a way in which we should allow for you guys to get in to see those prisons.”

Cullerton said if Quinn has concerns then he should sit down with reporters, perhaps the Senate's Correspondent's Committee, to work out a reasonable way to facilitate safe visits that aren't too burdensome for the Department of Corrections.

Cullerton said reports about conditions in the prisons are concerning and that legislators need to know about those problems so they can help solve them.

Quinn’s office did not return requests for comment.