* The Tamms super-max prison kept inmates isolated almost all the time. That treatment led human rights groups to label the incarceration torture. When I visited some prisons several years ago, including Tamms, I couldn’t help but notice that the super-max prison was cleaner than the other prisons and, also unlike the other prisons, had decent climate control, wasn’t crowded and was quiet.
So, now that the super-max prisoners have been transferred to Pontiac, some have declared a hunger strike…
The Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center said an estimated 10 prisoners are participating in the strike, which comes about a month after the inmates were transferred out of Tamms and into the older facility in Livingston County.
Key among their grievances is a lack of heat because of some of the retrofitting that was done in order to prepare Pontiac for the prisoners from Tamms. The prisoners are complaining that plexiglass panels installed on their cell doors block heat from entering their living areas, said Brian Nelson prison rights coordinator for the law center. […]
Nelson said the prisoners are upset that they don’t have televisions, radios, cleaning supplies, legal-sized envelopes and razors. In addition, he said they also are being forced to share nail clippers even though some men have illnesses.
“They are requesting that the clippers be sterilized after every use,” Nelson said.
The group says just ten former Tamms inmates are on hunger strike, but the Department of Corrections says that 47 inmates at Pontiac have recently declared they’re on hunger strikes.
A prison guard injured in a fight Monday at the Pontiac Correctional Center will undergo facial reconstructive surgery Thursday.
The unidentified officer received significant facial injuries, including a broken nose, when he was assaulted by an inmate.
The assault came a month after the Quinn administration moved inmates out of a southern Illinois lock-up designed for dangerous prisoners.
No way would I ever want to do that job. My hat’s off to all of them.