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Illinois prisons struggle with backup power issues

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois Department of Corrections officials are investigating a prison power outage to decide whether the state’s correctional facilities are adequately prepared for emergencies.

The Bloomington Pantagraph reports a storm on Aug. 20 caused a 92-minute blackout at Vandalia Correctional Center. One prisoner at the maximum-security facility attacked a guard and others became unruly.

Other prison power outages caused similar upheaval of inmates, at Vienna Correctional Center in January and East Moline Correction Center in 2012.

The department says all of the state’s prison facilities have backup generators, except Vandalia and a Peoria halfway house.

A corrections spokesman says portable generators, flashlights and lanterns can also help in the event of a prolonged power outage.

A spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union says the light failures highlight a lack of necessary funding.
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Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com