Updated at 5:45 p.m. with additional comments from Gov. Quinn and comments from Sen. Durbin. Brian Mackey contributed reporting.
Updated at 2 p.m. with statement from Gov. Pat Quinn.
The federal government has agreed to purchase the underused Thomson Correctional Center in northwest Illinois to relieve crowding in its facilities, despite fervent opposition from members of Congress.
Last week, the Illinois Department of Corrections broke a rather unenviable record. On Tuesday, the department housed 49,172 inmates. The previous record was sent in Oct. 2011 when the population hit 49,135.
The population has been steadily rising since Ill. Gov. Pat Quin suspended an early release program in the middle of a heated primary election against Dan Hynes two years ago. Quinn recently signed into law a new early release program that should help bring down the number but it hasn't yet been implemented.
A union for Illinois government workers says negotiations with the state are at a "virtual standstill."
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says concessions demanded by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn are "an insult to every state employee."
Quinn spokesman Abdon Pallasch says the state can't afford to keep salaries and benefits at their current levels. He told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register that even after cuts, state employees would have generous benefits.