Illinois Disputes Record Setting Prison Population

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The Illinois Department of Corrections is disputing an Associated Press analysis that the state’s prison population has hit an all-time high.

The AP sorted state records which show the population hit 49,154 over the weekend. That’s 19 inmates more than the agency’s previous record, set on Oct. 6, 2011.

Agency spokeswoman Stacey Solano says the number is incorrect and the record has not been broken. She says there are 49,044 behind bars.

The prisons were designed for 33,700 people and Gov. Pat Quinn wants to close five correctional centers to save money in a budget crisis. A lawsuit has stalled that.

Last spring officials declared a downward trend in inmates and predicted an overall average for the year of less than 46,000.

By JOHN O’CONNOR –  AP Political Writer