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Illinois Department of Corrections Spent $2M+ on Cable Subscriptions for Inmates


The Illinois Department of Corrections from 2010-2012 spent approximately $2.26 million on cable subscriptions for prison inmates, according to the Illinois Policy Institute and a recent report.

The Illinois Policy Institute estimates that between July 2010 and June 2012, the Illinois Department of Corrections spent $2,261,009 on cable television for prison inmates, a Freedom of Information Act request shows.

TV channels provided to prisoners include MTV, CMT, Fox Sports, ESPN, Lifetime, BET, the Home Shopping Network, Speed, and Spike TV.

Wait, Lifetime?

“Spending more than $2 million on cable TV for inmates is something Illinois can’t afford, especially considering the state’s already costly prison system,” reads the Illinois Policy Institute’s Nov. 19 “2012 Piglet Book,” co-authored by Benjamin VanMetre and Ted Dabrowski.

“It should be worrisome that the state is wasting taxpayer dollars to fund multimillion dollar cable bills for inmates. Instead of watching Snooki on MTV, maybe inmates’ attention would be better focused on learning a trade skill or studying for a degree,” the report adds.

The goal of the “2012 Piglet Book,” according to its authors, is to “raise awareness about what they view as wasteful spending in Illinois,” as puts it.

“Something in Illinois we continually hear all the time is that there’s no place left to cut, that we have to increase taxes because lawmakers have cut everything there is to cut,” VanMetre told

“But what we do in ‘Piglet’ is we highlight nearly 200 examples of just outrageous ways that lawmakers are spending our money. So, the goal of this project is to make individuals aware of where their tax dollars are being spent and to really push back against this idea that there’s no room left to cut spending,” he adds.

Oh, also, coming in at approximately $271 billion, Illinois has the unfortunate distinction of being the state with the fourth largest debt burden in the country.

“Total appropriations in the state budget for FY 2010 and 2011 were $53.5 billion and $60.5 billion, respectively,” adds.

And just for fun, here are other examples of public expenditures deemed “wasteful” by the “Piglet” book:

  • Over $5 million in corporate relocation fees for Boeing.
  • $1,043,000 for “electric vehicle charging infrastructure.”
  • $15.9 million “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” stimulus grant in the Chicago metro area.
  • $2.3 million for a 3D movie theater in Granite City, Illinois.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image courtesy Getty Images.

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