Bootleg alcohol in Illinois prisons on the rise, guard says

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois budget crisis has apparently driven state prison inmates to drink.

Illinois prison guard Corey Knop told lawmakers Tuesday he’s seen more bootleg alcohol at the prison in Lawrenceville than at any time in his 18 years with the Department of Corrections.

Knop blames the budget crisis of the past 2 1/2 years. He says a vendor which delivered drinks with 10 percent juice — not enough to produce the hootch — stopped delivery for lack of payment.

Knop says Corrections found a new vendor which provides 100 percent juice.

A Corrections spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond with comment.

The House Appropriations-Public Safety Committee convened in Chicago to review claims by the guards’ union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, that inmate assaults have increased.