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Prosecutor: Furloughs to Undermine Public Safety

CHICAGO (AP) - The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois warns public safety could suffer if he must force staff to take lengthy furloughs brought on by congressional budget cuts. 

The Belleville News-Democrat cites Steve Wigginton as saying the Department of Justice will require 16 unpaid furlough days in the next fiscal year. It starts Oct. 1.

Wigginton says there will be a decrease in numbers of prosecutions as a result. And he says that means fewer criminals brought to justice.  He adds that his district already saw a 4 percent cut this year to its $6 million annual budget. He says there could be an additional 15 percent cut next year.

Prosecutors nationwide have expressed similar fears. Supporters of the cuts say they're needed to rein in out-of-control spending. 

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