PONTIAC - A prison guard was injured by an inmate at the Pontiac Correctional Center Monday, just one month after the Quinn administration moved inmates out of a southern Illinois lock-up designed for dangerous prisoners.
The Illinois Department of Corrections confirmed Tuesday that the unidentified correctional officer received facial injuries after being assaulted by the inmate.
"An IDOC investigation is under way as a result of this incident," noted Corrections spokeswoman Marcelyn Love.
The officer may have to undergo surgery, added Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, which represents correctional officers working within the state's prison system.
The attack comes as Pontiac, one of the state's three maximum-security facilities, has received scores of additional inmates linked to Gov. Pat Quinn's controversial decision to close the super-maximum-security Tamms Correctional Center.
Opponents of the Tamms closure, which came on Dec. 29, predicted it would trigger violence within the state's already overcrowded prison system.
"When prisons are overcrowded, staff is outnumbered and overworked. This risk of violence caused by tensions among inmates is great," Lindall said Tuesday.
The department said there was no connection between the assault and the closure of Tamms.
"This is an isolated incident and not related to any other factors," Love noted Tuesday.
The prison was placed on lockdown status Monday, resulting in restrictions on inmate movement.
Despite overcrowding throughout the state's sprawling prison system, Quinn insisted Tamms had to be closed for budget purposes. Supporters of the closure also said the treatment of prisoners at the 15-year-old facility was inhumane because inmates were housed in near-total isolation.
But, opponents of the closure said Tamms helped control inmate violence because prisoners did not want to get sent to the facility as punishment for fighting elsewhere.