Illinois Prison Lockdown to Continue Amid Search | NBC Chicago

Illinois Prison Lockdown to Continue Amid Search

Cache of crude weapons and homemade alcohol was found Friday

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    A state prison spokesman says the lockdown of Illinois' largest maximum security prison will continue "for days" after a cache of crude weapons and homemade alcohol was found there.

    Tom Shaer said Sunday that the lockdown won't be lifted until a thorough search is completed of the Menard Correctional Center southeast of St. Louis.

    The prison has been on lockdown since Friday's discovery of more than a dozen weapons along with gallons of homemade alcohol and juice and sugar used to make liquor. Shaer says besides the search, investigators are trying to determine how the inmates managed to hoard the items.

    Shaer said there is no indication any weapons have been used recently at the prison or that inmates have been drinking homemade liquor.

    In February, the John Howard Association, a nonpartisan correctional-system watchdog, reported that the prison was on full or partial lockdown 122 days in 2013, less than half of the 250 days reported in 2012. But officials with the watchdog group said they're still concerned that the number of serious assaults on staff there jumped to eight last year 2013, up from five the previous year.

    But the group credited one change: Some 550 inmates had job assignments at Menard, up 50 percent from the 365 who had jobs in 2012.