Illinois prison employees hold prayer rally

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Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - Justin Jones

VIENNA, Ill. - Guided by their faith, dozens of Illinois Corrections workers hope God can change Governor Pat Quinn's mind about what they are calling a serious safety issue. 

"I would just ask the governor to pray and asked God's wisdom," said Scott Pender

Pender has 13 years under his belt as a state prison employee.  He was transferred from the Murphsboro Youth Center to the Centralia Correctional Center and said the overcrowding is becoming a growing concern.

"It's just a matter of time that someone whether it's employees or the inmates themselves, someone is going to die," Pender told Local 6.

Marsha Griffin organized the prayer rally outside the Shawnee Correctional Center in Vienna.  She has five family members working in the state's prisons and said the governor turned his back on the people who work for him.

"We feel betrayed and we feel like our concerns about our family are not being listen to by the governor," Griffin said.

The Shawnee Correctional Center is gearing up for more inmates.  Griffin said the state is cleaning out the gym in order to accommodate a bus load in the coming weeks.  After hearing of recent fights in other prisons, she said it's only a matter of time before this center comes under scrutiny.

"We as families feel they are not isolated incidents and that there is going to be a serious riot occur if policies aren't looked at and changed," Griffin said.

For the time being, the state workers are praying for brighter days ahead.

"Hopefully hearts will be changed," said Pender.

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