Week in Review – November 20, 2015

Introducing Legislation to Reopen Murphysboro Work Camp as an Adult Facility, Study Work Camps

This week I am proud to announce that I have introduced two very important pieces of legislation. 

As many of you may know, I spent much of my career working for the Illinois Department of Corrections. During that time, I came to believe very firmly in the rehabilitative work that happened inside the walls of Illinois’ youth and adult work camps.

Members of the media ask Rep. Bryant about her plan
to reopen the Murphysboro youth camp as an adult facility.

Work camps are an essential part of Illinois’ correctional infrastructure, often providing help to local communities in times of natural disasters. They also offer young and grown men alike a second chance; a chance to rehabilitate their lives and move on to be productive, contributing members of society.

Because of my strong belief in the effectiveness of these types of facilities, I have introduced legislation (HB 4340) that seeks to reopen and repurpose the shuttered Illinois Youth Center at Murphysboro. The aim would be to reopen it as an adult work camp.

The facility in Murphysboro was closed by Pat Quinn, against the advice of legislators, members of the community, and most everyone that knows anything about the effectiveness of work camps.
In addition to this, passing a resolution that will establish a task force to study how work camps can contribute to the overall decline of our prison population, reduce crime, and reduce the rate of recidivism (people returning to prison after being released.) The work of the Task Force on Work Camp Rehabilitation would be completed during the 2016 calendar year, with a report due to the General Assembly and the Governor by January of 2017. Members of the legislature and appointees of the Governor from the government and non-profit sectors would help to comprise the Task Force. 

I look forward to hearing your opinion on this issue, as I believe it will help the State of Illinois, and Southern Illinois in particular, in three critical areas:
1. Reducing prison overcrowding. Right now, Illinois’ Department of Corrections is operating at 150% of its capacity. Prison overcrowding causes an unsafe environment for corrections staff and for inmates alike. Reopening Murphysboro would help to alleviate some pressure on existing facilities and help increase safety for front line staff members and inmates. 
2. Reducing unemployment. Southern Illinois’ economy has been decimated by the policies of Rod Blagojevich, Pat Quinn, and Mike Madigan. The closure of the correctional facility at Tamms, and the closure of the Murphysboro work camp have contributed to these factors. Passing the legislation I introduced this week would provide good paying jobs to our friends and neighbors in southern Illinois in a rewarding occupation. 
3. Reducing recidivism and saving taxpayer dollars. Work camps have proven to reduce the rate at which prisoners return to prison. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to house inmates in a correctional facility every year. We should be exploring all options to move low level, non- violent offenders out of the general population in our prisons. It is my hope that the Task Force on Work Camp Rehabilitation would help to highlight this important point, and would help drive public policy on how to reduce our overall prison population moving forward.

I was honored to be joined by front line staff members from the Department of Corrections, as well as members of the Murphysboro city council and the Jackson County Board for this important press conference.

Links to media coverage of the event are listed below. I invite you to check out the stories. 

KFVS 12 –

The Southern –


First Weekend of Shotgun Deer Hunting Season!

Rep. Bryant poses with local sportsmen taking a break
from deer hunting in Perry County.

I want to wish all local sportsmen and women the best of luck while hunting this weekend. Shotgun season is an exciting time! I want to pass along some shotgun safety tips provided by our friends at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Check out IDNR’s
Ten Commandments of Firearm Safety! 

Thanks to my friends Bruce and Reece Rodely of DuQuoin for taking a break from tracking Bambi today to pose for a selfie! Good luck guys!

Let me know what you think!
As always, my offices in Mt. Vernon and Murphysboro are open every week to assist you with anything that you need. I encourage you to visit my website at www.repbryant.com  – fill out the contact form and send me an email to let me know your opinion on this and any other issue dealing with state government.