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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A 140-year-old Illinois prison housing the state's toughest criminals could one day be home to a modern and ecologically friendly power-generator.
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers in Illinois reported Friday that Department of Corrections officials are studying whether Menard Correctional Center in southwestern Illinois could be run by waste products from other prisons.
Officials say wood, paper and food waste could be burned to generate about 10 percent of the power used at Menard, a 3,600-inmate prison built in the 1870s that's located about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.
Jen Aholt is the CEO of Illinois Correctional Industries. She says the industries division could turn the refuse into dried, burnable pellets and transport them to Menard.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois prison-monitoring group says Menard Correctional Center inmates reported concern about "aggressive cellmates" during a visit shortly before a string of three inmate murders since January.
The John Howard Association visited the prison in far southern Illinois in December. Its report, released late yesterday, said several older inmates were worried about cellmates. And the independent watchdog said housing inmates with long sentences with those facing shorter stretches "can be problematic."
Authorities have charged three Menard inmates with murdering cellmates since January. In one, a 40-year-old murderer is accused of beating and strangling a 25-year-old cellmate. In another, a 23-year-old inmate is charged with fatally beating a 64-year-old cellmate.
Corrections officials responded in the report that they review inmates before housing them together.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Randolph County coroner has ruled another inmate death as a homicide at the Menard maximum-security prison in Chester in far southern Illinois.
Coroner Randy Dudenbostel says 35-year-old William Crowder died March 26 from "manual strangulation." The coroner classified the death as a homicide.
State's Attorney Jeremy Walker intends to file first-degree murder charges against a Menard inmate when he receives investigative reports.
He would not name the inmate but says the man is not due for release until 2013.
Crowder was found dead in his cell in the prison's segregation unit at 10:36 p.m. Crowder's was the third homicide since Jan. 31.
Walker previously filed murder charges against former Menard inmates for the deaths of 25-year-old Jason Hall and 64-year-old Yusuf Abuzir.