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updated: 12/18/2013 5:18 PM

Prison official with 24 arrests put on leave

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- An Illinois prison official who's been arrested as many as two dozen times and was alleged to have been affiliated with a gang has been suspended from his $111,400-a-year job, an official said Wednesday.

Corrections Department spokesman Tom Shaer confirmed that Xadrian McCraven, senior policy adviser to the agency's parole chief, has been put on paid leave, but he would not comment further.

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The Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday that McCraven, 44, was suspended Monday and faces a pre-disciplinary hearing Thursday. The newspaper reported last week that the Chicago man pleaded guilty in 1989 to illegal possession of a handgun and was found guilty in 1998 of reckless conduct in connection with a domestic-battery case.

He's been arrested on suspicion of such charges as arson, gun and drug possession, attempted robbery, and aggravated assault, according to federal court records. A Chicago police background check found that McCraven was known to be a drug dealer and gang member, the newspaper reported.

State records indicate McCraven started at the Corrections Department in July. The Sun-Times reported that he was transferred there after he was fired by the Department of Children and Family Services for spending work time writing and responding to "lewd" and "highly sexualized" emails, lying about his credentials, and improperly using agency resources.

But McCraven won a grievance through his union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, accepted a 10-day suspension, received six months' back pay, and was transferred to Corrections.

McCraven does not have a listed phone number and could not be contacted for comment Wednesday. AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said the union is legally required to represent members to ensure due process but would not comment further.

Applicants to the Corrections Department undergo extensive criminal background checks, but Shaer said Wednesday he could not comment on what McCraven's showed or who at the agency approved his hiring. Shaer told the Sun-Times last week that McCraven's "hiring was carefully considered, as are all IDOC hires."

McCraven has argued in court that his criminal record has been expunged. He sued the city of Chicago in federal court, claiming police improperly considered his expunged convictions and rejected his application to be a police officer because of racial discrimination. McCraven is black.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys dismissed the lawsuit, saying the background check was not improper. In his August 2000 ruling, Keys wrote that the investigation found McCraven "to be a drug dealer, gang member and supplier of guns to other gang members."

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