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Lawmakers question prison officials about audit, criticize parole board chair no-show

The Illinois Legislative Audit Commission met with officials from the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board to go over issues listed in recent audits of the state agencies.

The most recent IDOC audit was released in October of 2021 and showed several issues within the department.

One of the issues discussed was focused on guard safety. State Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, asked questions about specific incidents inside the department.

“We have had issues of inmates throwing human waste, urine, on guards,” McCombie said. “What is the DOC doing to one, stop these problems and two, help us put a legislative fix to that?”

IDOC Chief of Operations Justin Hammers said the safety of their guards is a top priority and that they are making changes to the buildings to prevent further incidents.

“Currently, we are doing some construction where we have modified the boxes we put over their food ports that is open to pass stuff to prevent any further opportunities for this to happen,” Hammers said.

The Illinois Prisoner Review Board was also scheduled for a hearing with the audit commission Wednesday to review issues found in the most recent audit. However, PRB Chair Edith Crigler did not appear at the committee. Only the chief legal counsel and other staff of the board appeared.

The PRB audit contained 17 current findings, including five repeated findings members of the audit commission said must be spoken for by the chair, according to state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet.

“I do not think we should start down a path where it is okay for the CEO of whatever agency it is just to say ‘no, I am not going to go,’ and send someone else,” Rose said during Wednesday’s hearing.

Rose said the actions of PRB show complete lack of concern for Illinois residents.

“This hurts the core of Illinois, which is the public safety of its citizens,” Rose said. “Everyone on this committee, me included, believes that this agency has endangered the citizens of Illinois.”

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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