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Governor proposes reopening prison

Associated Press

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. - A southern Illinois juvenile prison closed for cost-cutting reasons less than two years ago may be reopened as an adult lockup for drunken driving offenders under Gov. Pat Quinn's budget blueprint. But Illinois lawmakers hold the keys to whether Quinn gets his way with the shuttered Murphysboro lockup he identified as repurposing under his spending plan unveiled Wednesday, the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reported.

Making that prison reopening a reality depends on Illinois lawmakers making a temporary 67 percent income tax increase permanent, as Quinn proposes.

Quinn's budget office says an estimated 2,500 inmates in Illinois prisons are serving time for multiple drunken driving offenses, and shifting them to the former minimum-security lockup in Jackson County's Murphsyboro could ease prison crowding.

"Murphysboro could be repurposed fairly easily," said Abdon Pallasch, assistant director of the Governor's Office of Management and Budget.

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