Drew Peterson transferred to maximum security prison downstate - Fox 2 News Headlines

Drew Peterson transferred to maximum security prison downstate

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Just as Drew Peterson was settling into his new home at the Illinois Prison in Pontiac, the convicted murderer has been moved and his attorneys are crying foul.

Peterson was transferred Thursday to the Menard Correctional Center downstate near St. Louis which is 350 miles from Chicago.

Menard is the second oldest prison in the Illinois Correctional system and the state's largest maximum security facility. It is also the one with the most convicted killers, about 2000.

The move surprised Peterson's attorneys.

"It's really hard to say why they moved him. IDOC has their own administrative policies and things that they follow," said Joe Lopez. "I'm not sure if it's some diesel therapy, trying to break him down move him from institution to institution, but he's there and he's gotta accept the fact that he's there."

Another of Peterson's attorneys, Steve Greenberg, called the move frustrating, making it all the more difficult for them to visit Peterson and work with him on his appeals.

Stacey Solono, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman, said the move was in the best interest of inmates and staff.

"The department determines the best parent facility for inmates based upon many factors to help ensure safety and security of inmates and staff," Solono said.

Menard has been home to some high profile criminals including John Wayne Gacy and James Degorski, convicted in the Brown's Chicken massacre.

According to a June 2011 report by the John Howard Association, which monitors Illinois prisons, Menard had the worst inmate to staff ratio of all the state's maximum security facilities. It also had an alarming number of reported staff and inmate assaults.

It was also on lockdown at least half the time during the year and a half before the report. The facility's web page shows the prison is on lockdown as of Thursday night.

Joe Lopez says he's not worried about Peterson's safety.

"Generally as a police officer a lot of times they're not in segregation, they're put in general population and they have to fend for themselves out there," Lopez said.

Next Tuesday, Peterson's case will be back before Judge Edward Burmilla in Will County, as attorneys ask him to reduce Peterson's 38 year sentence on the grounds it is excessive.

Peterson will not be brought to Joliet for the hearing. Experts say those motions are usually denied.

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