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Measuring the Impact of Moving a Prison

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A dozen state lawmakers will gather in downstate Livingston County tonight to hear testimony from residents and organizations concerned about Governor Rod Blagojevich's plans to close Pontiac Prison. According to an economic impact study by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, the four-county area around the prison could lose 466 jobs and almost $30 million in spendable income.

That's if the state follows through on its current plan to relocate Pontiac's prison population to the Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois. A separate study conducted by the Institute projected notable gains for the six-county area surrounding Thomson if that prison were fully staffed.

But even the impact studies have caused controversy. Robin Hanna is the lead author of both studies, which were requested by two different state agencies. He told Eight Forty-Eight's Alison Cuddy that the two documents were being misused for side-by-side comparisons. So he says his team decided to add addendums to each report.

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