Morning round-up
8:23 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Morning headlines - Monday, June 18 2012

Guards charged with assault for inmate fight

Two guards at the medium security jail in St. Louis City are facing burglary and assault charges for allegedly arranging to have one inmate at the workhouse beat up another.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says 32-year-old Elvis Howard and 45-year-old Dexter Brinson walked one inmate from his cell to another on a different floor, then locked the door and let the first man beat the second for about a minute.

The paper says a third inmate reported the incident to authorities. It took place on May 24 – the guards were charged on Friday.

The city’s corrections division has been under scrutiny in the past two years. Six inmates escaped over a period of 15 months between 2010 and 2011. And several guards have been charged with a variety of crimes, including drug smuggling and improper sexual contact with inmates.

Construction means more travel changes at Lambert Airport

Ongoing road improvement work at Lambert Airport will lead to another set of lane shifts at Terminal 1 on Tuesday.

The work will shift to the northern-most lanes, closest to the curb at Lambert's lower baggage claim. That same roadwork will also affect pick-up zones for Terminal 2, SuperPark shuttles and off-airport parking vans.

Lambert spokesman Jeff Lea says there won't be any change to detours that have been in place for the last six weeks. He says the airport is prepared for the impact everything is having on traveler's routines.

"There's going to be a lot of signage," Lea said. "We do have a customer service ambassador that'll be walking through the terminal to let people know of the change in these options during the duration of the project."

Lea says everything should return to normal on August 1, when construction is completed.

Probation takes another hit in proposed Ill. budget

Brian Mackey contributed reporting from Springfield.

They were hoping for an increase after years of cuts - but once again, probation officers in Illinois are facing budget reductions.

The total cut in this year's proposed spending plan is 13 percent, or $7.5 million.

The state Supreme Court oversees probation, which is offered to non-violent offenders, most often involved in drugs. Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride says the cuts are clogging up the court system.

"Not all offenders are being properly assessed, or fully assessed," Kilbride said earlier this year in an unsuccessful appeal to legislative leaders to reduce the cuts. "And in the low-risk category, a lot of those offenders are skating through the system."

A lobbyist for probation officers, John McCabe, says monitoring and drug treatment is crucial for those low-level offenders.

"If you just send them into a corrections department, where there's no funding for substance abuse and they're just back out on the street in no time, then they're just going to re-offend and re-offend and re-offend," McCabe said.

McCabe says because counties pay for probation, and are reimbursed by the state, the 13 percent cut is a cost shift onto local governments.

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