Students allowed in state prison, reporters banned
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's administration is defending its decision allowing community college students to take an "educational" tour of one of the state's maximum-security prisons while at the same time continuing to bar reporters from such visits as a security risk.
A group of 25 criminal justice students from Heartland Community College in Normal toured the prison in Pontiac last Friday, Corrections Department spokeswoman Stacey Solano said. A college spokesman said he was told the undergrads didn't see inmate living areas.
The Associated Press and other news media outlets have been denied tour requests under Quinn, who is attempting to close two prisons to save money despite historic overcrowding of the state's prisons. According to an AP analysis of state data, there are now more than 49,300 inmates held in prisons designed for 33,700.
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