Manar and members and leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 union talked about the closures at a news conference Wednesday outside the front gates of the Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro. Gov. Quinn has proposed closing several prisons around the state, and Manar and the prison workers will signal warnings about the public safety concerns those closings could create. Illinois prisons house more than 49,000 inmates, but they are jammed into facilities built for just 33,000. Closing any prison will make this crowding even worse.
“We can see the impact these closures can have on good communities like Hillsboro, and the very real safety concerns they raise within a prison system already bursting at the seams,” Manar said. “I stand with the workers at Graham and prisons around the state who say the answer to our problems is not closing prisons and creating many more problems than we have now.”
Graham employees thanked Manar for standing with them and their colleagues around the state to oppose the closures.
“We owe it to the men and women who work in our prisons, those who put on the uniform and walk through the gates each day, to make our prisons as safe as they can possibly be,” said AFSCME executive director Henry Bayer. “Lawmakers from both parties and every part of the state know the governor’s closures will create overcrowded, chaotic prisons that are dangerous for workers, for inmates who are attempting to turn their lives around, and for the general public.”
Manar is a lifelong resident of Macoupin County. In 2001, he was elected mayor of his hometown of Bunker Hill at the age of 25 and was elected to the Macoupin County Board in 2003. Just a few months later, his fellow board members picked him as chairman because of his strong leadership skills and vision.
The 48th Senate District is made up of Christian and Montgomery counties, along with parts of Macon, Macoupin, Madison and Sangamon counties.