By: Katie Jones
An East Moline prison worker is taking overcrowding concerns straight to Springfield. Newly elected State Representative Mike Smiddy has worked at the East Moline Correctional Center for nearly a decade. He said he wants to shine light on a scary situation.
It's been called the worst deficit in the nation and to make up for Illinois' multi billion dollar debt Mike Smiddy said state prisons are suffering.
"They're already putting more inmates into facilities that cannot handle them especially in East Moline. We have to do a better job instead of being re–active when something happens in the prison system, be more pro–active." Smiddy said.
Smiddy said inmates aren't being scanned properly and are being stuffed into tight quarters. Not to mention, he said the EMCC is understaffed and guards are overworked. "We've had two escapes at East Moline and it's at no fault to our staffing. It's the types of inmates they have been putting into minimum security facilities." Smiddy said.
For months, union leaders have gone back and forth with Governor Pat Quinn and the Department of Corrections about closing state prisons and Smiddy said as a State Representative, he'll make sure his voice is heard.
"We're on the same team but we're not always playing with the same playbook. Protecting this community is most important to me and that means making sure this prison kept open and is staffed with the right numbers. If that goes against Governor Quinn then so be it." Smiddy said.
Smiddy said he'll take a leave of absence from the EMCC to be a full time State Representative. He'll be sworn in January 9th.