Guard union: Illinois prison situation a 'powder keg' -

Guard union: Illinois prison situation a 'powder keg'

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CHESTER, Il. ( -- Menard Correctional Center was on a level-one lockdown following a staff assault Tuesday morning.

An officer was assaulted in the chapel along with two others who came to his aid. One of those guards attacked.

Menard guards said violence among the inmates continues to grow out of control and it puts everyone at risk.

Officials said the problems lead back to the state of Illinois’ money troubles.

Guard numbers are being cut as the inmate numbers rise. Guards said they are worried the problem will get worse.

Some guards took to the streets outside of the prison to express their outrage over the violence.

“How dangerous is the situation in there?” said Kevin Hirsch, President of the 1175 chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipality Employees, “It’s always dangerous, but it seems to be getting worse now because of the short staffing and overcrowding.”

The environment boiled over today when inmates attacked guards in the prison's chapel and the whole place went on lockdown.

Guards said they are angry at the Governor over what’s happening behind bars at the state’s biggest prison.

Guards and prison workers rallied in Chester, Il, over issues of safety and better pay.

The informational picket line stretched along Route 3 right in front of the Menard Minimum Security Prison.

The guards union has been without a contract since last June and they have a growing concern over safety. 

The Menard prison is 60 miles south of St. Louis along the Mississippi River in Chester, Illinois.

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