The Associated Press has learned that overtime pay jumped 34 percent last year for corrections officers in Illinois’ overcrowded prisons system.
The spike corresponded with Gov. Pat Quinn’s closing of prison facilities to save money. But state officials argue the costs were increased when a union sued to stop the closings and the transfer of some guards got delayed.
An AP analysis of state records shows that employees were paid $62 million in overtime in the year that ended June 30. State officials say the amount has dropped since then.
Lawmakers currently are considering gun legislation that could further crowd the prisons. The proposal would impose tougher sentences for gun crimes to help combat gang violence in Chicago, but officials say it could increase the system by 3,800 inmates.