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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. • Five Illinois prisons have been placed on full or partial lockdown in the past five days amid a spike of violence at the facilities.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer said incidents at each of the prisons were not related, and no employees were seriously injured.

“There were no common elements in the staff assaults at all,” Schaer said.

At the medium-security Pinckneyville Correctional Center, a fight among inmates broke out during a soccer game Sunday. Shaer said a second fight broke out after officers had lined up the inmates to assess the situation.

Guards then used a pepper spray-like substance to subdue the inmates.

The Pontiac Correctional Center’s medium security unit, which is separate from the prison’s maximum-security lockup, was placed on partial lockdown after multiple inmates got in a fight on the basketball court over the weekend.

The medium-security wing remains on lockdown. Movement has been restricted within the maximum-security part of the prison, Shaer said.

GUARDS ARE ASSAULTED

The Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet also was on full lockdown after a guard was attacked by an inmate on Saturday.

The officer returned to work Monday.

Placed on partial lockdown were the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Ina and the maximum-security Menard Correctional Center.

Big Muddy, a medium-security prison, was the site of an inmate assault on a guard on Thursday.

The officer was not injured and was back at work on Sunday. The partial lockdown lasted for 18 hours.

At Menard, which was the site of a number of violent outbursts this year, an inmate struck a guard Wednesday, triggering a 39-hour lockdown.

It was the first lockdown of the maximum-security facility in Chester since May.

Until then, the facility had been the site of three inmate murders this year and had been averaging of four serious assaults a month.“We’ve been pretty quiet,” Shaer said.

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