The union representing corrections officers says inmate attacks on state employees have increased 51% since 2015.
Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 said Thursday that assaults increased from 541 in the 2015 calendar year to a projected 819.
AFSCME says the Illinois Department of Corrections is reclassifying violent inmates to lower security levels to save money. Those inmates are transferred to medium-security prisons which are less costly to run.
Gladyse Taylor is assistant director of corrections. She says inmates are only transferred to lower-level security prisons when their progress and behavior warrants.
Corrections Department Director John Baldwin says the department is training officers to deal with a large number of mentally ill prisoners, has increased staffing and is seeking money for new equipment.