By: Katie Jones
16 hours a day, 6 days a week, that's what some local prison workers say they suffer through. They said shutting down Illinois correctional facilities will only make it worse. The halting of inmate transfer from Tamms and Dwight prisons hasn't stopped criminals from coming to the QC and workers from the East Moline Correctional Center said it's putting staff and the entire community in danger. EMCC supply supervisor Mike Smiddy said it's been a constant call for help.
"Our frontline staff are getting over worked, our overtime is going through the roof and we need to make sure it stops," EMCC supply supervisor, Mike Smiddy said.
Workers said this year alone they've had more than 5 million dollars worth of overtime costs on a budget that can't afford to pay for it.
"We're going to see a drop off in food, clothing, we've got roofs leaking in this facility. They are robbing Peter to pay Paul. In order to absorb the overtime costs, they're having to take money from other areas," AFSCME local 46 President, Gregg Johnson said.
That's just part of the problem. Workers said guards are still dangerously outnumbered.
"When you have 184 inmates in a dorm and one staff person, it makes for a dangerous situation especially if they're working for 16 hours, it makes it even more dangerous because they're so tired." Smiddy said.
Workers worry if state prisons like Tamms and Dwight close, high risk inmates will come to the EMCC, a facility that wasn't built to handle them.
"It does not have towers, doesn't have double fencing so it makes it a lot easier for them to hurt an individual inside or as you've seen in the past ... escape," Smiddy said.
Workers said right now the EMCC has 144 guards but say they need at least 200 to keep all of the inmates under control.