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Article updated: 3/29/2013 9:56 AM

Illinois officials open Pontiac prison to news media


PONTIAC -- The Illinois Department of Corrections is opening the maximum-security prison in Pontiac to news media Friday.

Reporters will see the inside of one of the state's tougher prisons -- and one of the oldest. Part of the Livingston County facility opened in 1871.

The Associated Press requested a tour of Pontiac in August after Gov. Pat Quinn announced that inmates displaced by closing the supermaximum-security Tamms prison would be securely housed there. Quinn closed Tamms in January and earlier this week emptied the women's maximum-security lockup in Dwight to save the state money.

Corrections officials -- backed by the Democratic governor -- for months rejected the AP's requests and those by WBEZ Radio in Chicago to visit other prisons. They said letting outsiders in jeopardized security.

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