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updated: 3/21/2014 7:44 AM

Illinois Senate approves prison chief

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Senate has approved retaining the state's director of prisons.

The Senate voted 37-18 to consent to Gov. Pat Quinn's appointment over complaints from Republicans about the performance of S.A. "Tony" Godinez.

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Godinez has been Corrections Department director since April 2011. The job pays $150,200.

Godinez has been criticized for a number of issues. He followed Quinn's directive to close two prisons and sell one to the federal government. The prisons are overcrowded -- holding nearly 50,000 inmates in a system designed for 32,000.

And he has overseen the hiring of a former congressman's son whom the executive inspector general said was not qualified. He also oversaw the hiring of a former gang member who the Chicago Sun-Times reported had been arrested two dozen times.

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