DWIGHT--When it comes to weighing the cost savings of closing Dwight prison, the village is happy Dan Rutherford is there to crunch the numbers.
"I'm the treasurer. I do have a standing in the debate in the finances of our state," said Rutherford. "I will make sure that this issue is a part of that sensitivity when we look to put together a state budget."
Rutherford says he used a business approach to study the effects of closing Dwight prison.
Shutting the facility wouldn't only devastate the village...
"I know where they shop, and I know what restaurants they visit, and I know where they get their gas..."
He says down state correctional centers are already overcrowded.
Making room for Dwight prisoners would only hurt their progress.
"There's greater concern in regards to problems and potential violence within those institutions."
Corrections officer Shane Long is thankful Rutherford is helping the prison employees make their case.
"It just leads into that whole shake in the reasoning that we're moving in the right direction of a closure when we're not," said Long.
With the treasurer's support, village leaders are confident they have what it takes to convince Governor Pat Quinn to keep Dwight prison open.
"It's really going to be rewarding to us because of the other people he's involved with," said Mayor Bill Wilkey.
"The amount of impact it will have on the governor, we'll see," cautions Rutherford. "But I think it's a way that continues to lend logical reasons to keep a facility like this open."
Meantime, Governor Quinn says he's not budging on his plan to close the prison.
The AFSCME Union representing prison employees estimates if the governor's proposed prison closure happens, female correctional centers will be operating 183% over capacity.
Rutherford says the state should switch its focus from closing prisons to reworking the pension system.