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Phelps Leads Bi-partisan Effort to Reopen Hardin County Work Camp

SPIRNGFIELD, Ill. – The Hardin County Work Camp is one step closer to reopening after state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, passed legislation out of the House of Representatives Tuesday requiring that the camp remain open.

“The Hardin County Work Camp is so vital to Southern Illinois because of the jobs that it provides for the correctional officers and inmates,” Phelps said. “We have been fighting for months to save the camp from closure and I’m proud that our efforts resulted in both Democrats and Republicans put putting politics aside to do what is right for Southern Illinois.”

The Hardin County Work Camp is a Level 7 work camp facility that holds 200 inmates. It is a satellite facility of the larger Shawnee Correctional Center. The work camp is known for its construction occupations class which builds homes and donates them to charities. The work camp has partnered with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity and Lutheran Social Services. The counties of Hardin, Saline, and Gallatin are the primary areas the work camp covers. Phelps introduced House Bill 4326 in November following the governor’s announcement that he planned to close the work camp at the beginning of the New Year. On January 1 of 2016, the work camp shut down and has remained closed.

“Today is a victory for Southern Illinois and it’s because of all those who stood up with me in demanding that we reopen the work camp,” Phelps said. “When we stand together, we get things done. I am proud to have wonderful people working with me, but our work is not done. We must continue to make our voices heard in Springfield and let Governor Rauner and the members of the Senate know that we refused to put used as pawns in this political game.”

Brandon Phelps represents the 118th District in the Illinois General Assembly, which includes all or portions of Alexander, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, and Union counties.