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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The crowded situation in the inmate intake center near Joliet has become the latest focus in the ongoing dispute over whether Illinois' prisons are too crowded.
The Associated Press has learned hundreds of inmates are sleeping in a gym, a health care unit and "staging areas" next to garages at the Illinois prison system's principal intake facility.
 
Ralph Portwood is president of the employees' union at Stateville prison, which oversees the reception center. He says the situation poses a security concern because inmates there are being held in groups instead of two per cell.
 
Illinois Department of Corrections officials say the setup isn't the most desirable but that the facility is secure, with extra guards available.  Corrections Director S.A. "Tony" Godinez says the prisons are run safely and humanely.
 
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